Safety is a big reason more roundabouts are coming to Lincoln

By  | 

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - There are more than a dozen new roundabouts in the works for the Capital City. The trend for roundabouts started back in 2002, and since then, they've been popping up at all kinds of intersections.

City Council approved plans for two more Monday night, and 10/11 spoke to the city about why they're choosing roundabouts more and more.

The first roundabout in Lincoln was at 33rd Street and Sheridan Boulevard 16 years ago. Now, you can find them everywhere in town. The city said one simple reason is because they're safer.

"In our own study of that intersection, there was an 83 percent reduction in overall crashes and 95 percent reduction in injury crashes at that one," said Thomas Shafer, a design and construction manager for Lincoln Public Works.

Safety is a big reason the city is constructing a roundabout at the intersection just south of 14th Street and Cornhusker Highway.

"So the safety issue we have there is mainly the on ramp, coming from 14th onto Cornhusker. It involves people trying to look over the left shoulder at quite an angle," said Shafer.

City Council approved design plans for the 14th and Cornhusker site, and approved construction for a mini roundabout near 66th and Fremont streets. Shafer said because of all the benefits, there's a dozen others in the works.

"Capacity and the flow of traffic is one of the main things. Safety is the second main thing and the third is just a long term cost. Both initially and how we can construct them," said Shafer.

A roundabout is a lot cheaper than the long term cost for electric, concrete, and maintenance of traffic lights. As for how much cheaper, Shafer said the savings to the city depends on the size of the project.

The only downside can be the construction. Right now, crews are waiting to start phase three of a big roundabout at West Van Dorn and Coddington Ave.

"We do try to keep traffic accommodated, it will depend on the situation. Van Dorn we're doing one leg at a time. So Van Dorn and Coddington, there's one we're working on out there and so we would shut down one leg and keep the other three legs open," said Shafer.

So far, the design plan for 14th and Cornhusker has been approved, but construction won't start until Spring 2019. However, this Spring, there will be a lot of roundabout work. Check out the Public Works page for a full list.