(Posted Jan. 20, 2021)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
With the aim of improving traffic safety, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) plans to construct a two-lane roundabout at the intersection of state routes 38 and 29 in Monroe Township, south of Plumwood. The project is slated for 2022.
The intersection ranks among the top 70 most dangerous intersections in Ohio based on crash data. From 2015 to 2017, 18 crashes occurred at the intersection, 16 involving drivers failing to yield and 11 involving injuries. None of the crashes resulted in fatalities.
“It’s a pretty significant crash history,” said Bryan Dhume, Madison County engineer, who has provided comments to ODOT regarding the roundabout plans. “The angle of the intersection makes it a challenge, and that’s why there are so many failure-to-yield problems there.”
This will be Madison County’s first rural roundabout. Area residents likely are most familiar with the roundabouts at I-70 and 29 in the county and those involving lower speed limits in Hilliard and Dublin in Franklin County.
“With the roundabout at 38 and 29, you have two 55 mph state roads. It will be a little different for us,” Dhume said.
He noted that ODOT’s plans include measures to slow and direct traffic into the proper lanes as it approaches the roundabout.
“But I’m sure there will be a learning curve,” Dhume said.
He added that roundabouts can present challenges if they are not designed properly. One of the keys for the 38/29 roundabout will be a design that allows for safe flow of trucks and agricultural vehicles and equipment, he said.
“Roundabouts are effective at decreasing right-angle injury accidents which is what we have (at 38 and 29) primarily,” Dhume continued.
Prior to the increase in the state gas tax rate one-and-a-half years ago, ODOT had slated 35 intersection improvement projects. The 38/29 intersection was not on that list. ODOT increased the project number to 70 once the tax increase went into effect. The 38/29 intersection made the second cut.