This summer, starting after school goes on summer break (May 24, 2016), the intersection of Milburn School Road, Simmons Road, and Fairwood Hills Road will be closed in order to construct a roundabout. The intersection is scheduled to be re-opened before school commences in August.
This area has long had issues with traffic, and as more homes continue to be built in northern O’Fallon, the problem was only to get worse. I think now is a good time to discuss the advantages of roundabouts and their proper navigation.
O’Fallon roundabouts have made it safer for our residents as they drive through the City. In addition, they also help to mitigate traffic congestion and pollution.
O’Fallon’s first roundabout, located at the intersection of State and Obernuefemann, officially opened on July 14, 2008. In its first five years, the O’Fallon Police Department responded to a total of 22 accidents. Of those accidents, only one had injuries involved and only five resulted in a vehicle begin towed. The statistics involving only one injury and minor levels of vehicle damage can be attributed to the low speeds that are required to safety navigate the roundabout.
In the last 24-months prior to the roundabout at State and Obernuefemann, the Police Department handled a total of 24 accidents at the old intersection, all of which included multiple cars, approximately 50% involved injuries, and 15 resulted in a vehicle being towed.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, roundabouts have numerous benefits over conventional signaled intersections which include:
- Up to 90% reduction in fatalities
- 76% reduction in injury crashes
- 30-40% reduction in pedestrian crashes
- 75% fewer conflict points than four way intersections
Slower vehicle speeds (under 30 mph)
- Drivers have more time to judge and react to other cars or pedestrians
- Advantageous to older and novice drivers
- Reduces the severity of crashes
- Keeps pedestrians safer
Efficient traffic flow
- 30-50% increase in traffic capacity
Reduction in pollution and fuel use
- Improved traffic flow for intersections that handle a high number of left turns
- Reduced need for storage lanes
- No signal equipment to install and repair
- Savings estimated at an average of $5,000 per year in electricity and maintenance costs
- Service life of a roundabout is 25 years (versus the 10-year service life of signal equipment)
- Traffic calming
- Aesthetic landscaping
The City of O’Fallon currently has four roundabouts, which are located at:
- State Street & Obernuefemann Road
- Old Vincennes Trail & Seven Hills Road
- Porter Road & Simmons Road
- Milburn Road & Merriam Parkway
Here are a few simple guidelines to remember when driving through a roundabout:
- Slow down
- Yield to pedestrians and bicycles
- Yield at the entry to circulating traffic.
- Stay in your lane within the roundabout and use your right-turn signal to indicate your intention to exit
- Always assume trucks need all available space – don’t pass them!
- Clear the roundabout to allow emergency vehicles to pass
For more information about roundabouts, please go to http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersection/innovative/roundabouts/.
The strong working relationship between City Hall and the residents we serve is yet another example of why O’Fallon is such a great community in which to live.