Washtenaw County Road Commission’s urban roundabouts lead the nation in innovation
Lansing, MI – Intersection work is one of the most expensive, time consuming projects a county road commission performs. But one county road agency has found a way around those issues with the completion of two unique roundabouts in Washtenaw County.
The first two in Michigan and two of only 15 across the United States, the compact urban roundabouts built by the Washtenaw County Road Commission (WCRC) last summer lead the nation in innovation. Many other county road agencies will be studying this innovation as a possible solution for their own local road systems.
WCRC’s compact urban roundabouts, located at the intersection of Textile Road and Hitchingham Road in Ypsilanti, solve many of the problems county road agencies normally face in intersection development. They require less space to build, reduced planning and construction time; they increase safety; decrease pollution from idling cars; and are more affordable than traditional intersection solutions.
“In our specific situation, urban roundabouts have been a major win for Washtenaw County residents and the families travelling our roads,” said Mark McCulloch, WCRC engineer, in Crossroads, the quarterly journal of the County Road Association of Michigan.
“Washtenaw County Road Commission was able to utilize the size of the urban roundabout to provide a ‘right-size’ solution to address capacity issues during peak hours,” McCulloch said. “Before the project began, traffic backups regularly occurred at both intersections. Installing urban roundabouts has virtually eliminated the backups.”
Apart from their size, WCRC’s compact urban roundabouts are unique in that the angles of entry and exit reduce vehicles speeds from 45-55 miles per hour to 20-25 miles per hour, maximizing safety in a wide variety of situations.
After the success of Washtenaw’s first two compact urban roundabouts, in the summer of 2016 the WCRC will begin construction on its third.
The 83 members of the County Road Association represent the unified, credible and effective voice for a safe and efficient local road system in Michigan, collectively managing more than 73 percent of all roads in the state– more than 90,000 miles and 5,700 bridges — the fourth-largest county road system in the nation.