XENIA — The Ohio Department of Transportation is asking for public opinion as it considers constructing a roundabout at the intersection of SR 235 and US 68. The proposed project would reduce crashes at the intersection, officials say, but residents and local business owners are concerned about the potential impacts to surrounding property and the potential impediment of semi trucks.
The primary goal of the project is to improve the safety of the intersection, and minimize the right-of-way impacts and avoid relocating residents.
The existing T-intersection currently is controlled by a stop sign for drivers on 235. In ODOT’s most recent ranking of high crash rural locations, the intersection ranked 34th in the state and was the second most dangerous intersection in Greene County. The intersection was beat only by US 42 and Spring Valley Paintersville Road, which ODOT recently improved.
Five crashes take place annually at US 68 and SR 235 on average. Among these, there are a significant number of rear-end and skew crashes, and many left-turn crashes involving injuries. The angle of the intersection is currently 60 degrees and would need to be 90 degrees in order for the T-intersection to stay in place.
ODOT currently has four options on the table for solving the issue. The first is a roundabout centered on the existing intersection. The second is a roundabout moved slightly east of the existing intersection. However, in order to construct this option, more right-of-way would have to be purchased from Veterinary Associates Animal Hospital, located across from 235.
ODOT is also considering simply moving the T-intersection to improve sight lines and reduce the skew of the intersection. However, this would impact an existing greenhouse as well as Gulf Point Market. A second proposed location for relocating the T-intersection would require the demolition of a residence.
Both roundabouts are being designed to accommodate semi trucks, including the implementation of truck aprons and other construction factors. Residents expressed concerns about the high number of semi trucks that drive along US 68 and how they would be affected should the roundabout be put in place. Traffic data for the project was collected in 2020.
ODOT officials cited other cities where roundabouts had improved safety over a longer period of time as reasoning for the roundabout project.
“Roundabouts constructed at intersections along high-speed, two-lane rural highways reduced overall crashes by up to 68 percent and reduced injury crashes by up to 88 percent,” ODOT said, citing data from the Federal Highway Administration. “High-speed approaches to roundabouts include advance signing, pavement markings, and raised channelization. With proper design, drivers adjust their speeds, slow on approach, and navigate the roundabout safely.”
ODOT has not finalized its decision, and is currently asking for questions and concerns from the public. The public comment period closes on March 13. For more information, as well as how to submit public comments, visit https://publicinput.com/ODOT111657.
Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.