BIDWELL — Gallia County’s first roundabout, located at the intersection of State Route 160 and State Route 554 in Bidwell, is open, according to a news release from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).
“The intersection has been on ODOT’s radar for several years and was added to Gov. Mike DeWine’s list of intersections for safety improvements,” stated the news release. “Prior to constructing the roundabout ODOT took steps to reduce the risk of crashes at the intersection, like adding flashing LED lights to stop signs, but the crash numbers didn’t improve.”
“Governor DeWine has made it clear that safety is a priority of his Administration,” said ODOT District 10 Deputy Director Darla Miller. “A roundabout makes sense at this location, where there has been a history of crashes.”
Why A roundabout?
After being identified on the Governor’s list, a study was completed in 2019. It found that a traffic signal was not warranted and recommended a roundabout.
Roundabouts are a proven safety countermeasure. According the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), roundabouts achieve a 44% reduction in all crashes and a 72%-87% reduction in fatal/injury crashes when converting a two-way stop intersection to a roundabout. They also report a 48% reduction in all crashes and a 60%-78% reduction in fatal/injury crashes when converting a signalized intersection to a roundabout, and greatly reduce severity on those few crashes that do occur.
Roundabouts achieve significant crash reductions because they simplify motorist decision making and have fewer conflict points. At a four-way intersection, there are 32 possible conflict points between vehicles and only eight at roundabouts. When crashes do happen at roundabouts, they tend to be less severe than those at traditional intersections. They also help move traffic more efficiently.
Trees and lighting will be added at the roundabout in the near future.
Information for this story submitted by ODOT.