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More roundabouts coming to Mid-Michigan after successful rollout

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 4:57 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - Mid-Michigan has seen about a half dozen new roundabouts added to the roadways over the last year.

Officials hope the addition of more could play a major role in reducing red-light-running crashes.

“We are seeing an influx of people who are running red lights because they’re sitting at red lights and there’s no oncoming traffic,” said Michigan Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jocelyn Hall.

MDOT reports that 1.9% of car crashes in 2019 were caused by people running red lights.

“They’re designed for multiple kinds of vehicles to be able to travel through,” Hall said. “They help to move traffic without forcing people to sit and wait at a signal that’s delayed for some reason.”

The intersection of Hill and Belsay roads in Grand Blanc Township received a roundabout recently. More roundabouts are planned with the Dort Highway extension under construction in the township this summer.

Locally conducted studies have shown roundabouts both help to keep traffic flowing and speeds lower when passing through intersections.

“It’s a tool that’s beneficial in the right circumstances,” Hall said. “So when you’re looking at changing the overall configuration of an intersection -- really doing the researching, looking at traffic volumes, traffic types, peak volume times -- things like that help to make that decision on whether a roundabout is needed in that location.”

That’s why MDOT will be adding two more this year at the interchange of I-75 and M-46 near Saginaw.

“We won’t replace every signal in our region with a roundabout, but when it’s the right circumstances we’re going to consider it, because it does have benefit for safety and maintaining traffic,” Hall said.

MDOT says the cost of maintaining roundabouts also is much cheaper in the long run.

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