X

Butler County’s newest roundabout coming to West Chester this summer

Butler County’s newest roundabout at the intersection of Smith and Beckett roads in West Chester Twp. is now open. The county’s 15th roundabout cost $996,090 and was funded with a federal grant and West Chester Twp. tax increment financing (TIF) money. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Butler County’s newest roundabout at the intersection of Smith and Beckett roads in West Chester Twp. is now open. The county’s 15th roundabout cost $996,090 and was funded with a federal grant and West Chester Twp. tax increment financing (TIF) money. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Drivers in West Chester Twp. will have road woes this summer as a major road project will shut down the intersection at LeSourdesville West Chester Road and Beckett Ridge Boulevard.

A new roundabout at the Lesourdesville West Chester Road and Beckett Ridge will be done in tandem with a drainage project on Beckett Road between Beckett Ridge and Union Centre boulevards. The project will be done this summer to lessen the impact on the schools in the area. The roundabout construction means the intersection will be shut down for the duration of the work.

“We’re driven to do them at the same time so we’re not doing them while school’s in,” Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens said. “It would have a major impact in the school systems.”

The work will begin the day after Memorial Day, May 26, and officials hope it will end before the start of school in August.

The $1.6 million roundabout is near Lakota Ridge Junior High School and down the road from Freedom Elementary School. The $1.8 million drainage project is in the vicinity of Lakota West High School.

RELATED: $3M Tylersville Road widening project on track in West Chester for 2020

West Chester Community Services Director Tim Franck said the situation may be similar to the roundabout construction at Beckett and Smith roads two years ago.

“It’s probably doable to complete the roundabout during the summer with the cooperation of weather,” Franck said. “The project at Smith and Beckett did bleed into the school year and there were complaints, but every effort is made to communicate and encourage motorists to be patient and allow extra time.”

Franck said the drainage project is near the Muhlhauser Barn, where water rolls off the hill, dumps into a ditch and is now eroding the ditch and sections of the road.

“There’s times when we have to put up high water signs because there’s water crossing the road,” he said. “It hasn’t caused any road closures but it certainly is an opportunity for it to create more erosion and then deteriorate the road further.”

Wilkens’ office has been in contact with the school district about potential problems.

“Whenever possible, I know the (engineer’s office) tries to schedule and plan work to minimize disruptions to school operations, but sometimes it just can’t be avoided based on the scope of the project or funding,” said Chris Passarge, Lakota’s Chief Operating Officer. “The new roundabout will improve traffic for the school and we appreciate their efforts to complete the work over the summer.”

The township expects some drivers to be upset by the construction and effects on travel, said Barb Wilson, township spokeswoman.

“While there was dissatisfaction in the immediate regarding the construction of the roundabout, people you ask now are probably pretty happy with the roundabout and how it manages traffic,” Wilson said.