It took nearly three months for the city to complete its first modern roundabout project, a three-pronged traffic circle at Gray and River roads just south of Marsh Park. The driver of an asphalt roller flattens an undercoat of asphalt on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2019, around the traffic circle. MICHAEL D. PITMAN/STAFF
Photo: Michael D. Pitman
Photo: Michael D. Pitman

Coming next week: New Fairfield roundabout to ease traffic in this intersection as area gets busier

The three-prong roundabout will open to traffic next week, and City Engineer Ben Mann said it could be as early as Monday. The project, deemed as a “traffic-calming device,” cost roughly $650,000 with more than half paid by an Ohio Public Works Commission grant. About $80,000 of the project’s cost was spent to have Duke Energy install and maintain new lighting for the roundabout.

“It is really more here for the future,” Mann said. “Marsh Park is going to take years and years to completely develop, and it’s going to be awhile for the bike path that’s going to connect to the roundabout to connect to the dog park. But when it does, that activity is going to warrant this traffic calming device.”

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Mann said a roundabout is typically a reaction to intersections that have issues but “we wanted to do it before we had a problem with pedestrians and bikes.”

”It will make this intersection safer,” he said.

The project is also “a major gateway improvement” at the city’s southern border, said City Manager Mark Wendling.

“People coming in from U.S. 27, that’s what they’re going to see and they’re going to know they arrived in Fairfield,” he said. “It really connects a nice image and nice aesthetic as they come into town.”

Wendling said the project will aid the city in more quality of life improvements, most notably the expansion of the Great Miami River bike trail, which currently ends at Waterworks Park just north of Marsh. It will help connect the trail south to the multi-use dog park that’s expected to open in September.

Quality of life features have for a long time been an important staple for Fairfield, Wendling said.

“In order to keep the community viable we have to really provide top-notch services, and it’s not just parks,” he said.

Wendling said that includes a “top-of-the-line” water system, a reliable sewer system, cleared streets during snow events, and quick responses by police and fire crews.

“If we don’t offer a good quality of life, we won’t be able to maintain the community as people currently know it and we won’t be able to continue the high standards,” he said.

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There are a few things to add after the opening of the roundabout, including adding an LED advanced warning sign in all three directions. Until those are ready to install, static roundabout signs are installed. Crews will also install a pair of large city seals on circular concrete pads in the center of the roundabout.

The county has nearly 20 modern roundabouts, most of which are in Liberty and West Chester townships.

“There aren’t a lot of roundabouts on the western side of Butler County,” Mann said. “This is a good place to introduce the community to a roundabout, and to the people who live and work here when they come in and out of the city.”

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