New roundabout coming to Lakota school campus

WEST CHESTER TWP. — Butler County has seen dozens of traffic roundabouts constructed in recent years but one coming up this summer will directly impact three Lakota schools that share a West Chester Twp. campus.

A new roundabout is planned to be built during school summer break at the intersection of Beckett and Tylersville Roads next to the campus housing Lakota West Freshman School, Creekside Early Childhood Center and Lakota Central High School, an alternative learning facility next to the freshman building.

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens said the timing for construction isn’t coincidental and that past traffic roundabouts near local school campuses were all built during the slower school traffic months of summer to lessen the impact on school families and staffers.

“The real key is doing it in the summer when you don’t have to deal with (school) bus traffic for the schools,” said Wilkens of the extensive remodeling of the intersection, which now uses traffic lights to control vehicle flow.

Summer breaks still see much school-related activities, including summer classes for some students, and a temporary driveway east of the intersection will allow access to the campus and the three schools during construction, he said.

Construction is scheduled to begin May 30 and end by Aug. 11, said Betsy Horton, spokeswoman for the county engineer’s office.

Construction cost estimate is $2,060,915 and will be funded by West Chester Twp. TIF (tax increment financing), she said.

“Typically, we begin construction in May after the last day of school and work to get the roundabout open to traffic by the time school starts in August. There have been a few times when a project hasn’t reached the scheduled completion date to rain or other reasons beyond our control, and we’ve had to work with school transportation to mitigate traffic issues for a week or so,” said Horton.

“We realize and appreciate the difficulty for bus drivers to begin or end the school year with a detour and little notice, so we try our best with all projects to keep that from happening.”

Betsy Fuller, spokeswoman for Lakota Schools, said the district appreciates the changes coming near its busy tri-school campus, which enrolls more than 1,700 students.

“As with all new roundabouts, we will adjust our traffic flow as needed during the construction process. Similarly, we will work with our partners at Petermann (contracted school bus service) to make any necessary adjustments to our bus routes during this time,” said Fuller.

There are currently 38 roundabouts in Butler County and the Tylersville and Beckett Roads traffic change will be one of three planned for 2023, she said.

“We chose to install a roundabout at this intersection because of the congestion there. The roundabout will provide more capacity and a safer intersection for current and future traffic.

Wilkens said the roundabouts add safety to intersections, especially those near local schools.

“The ones we have put in to date, we have had zero fatalities. And we have seen an 80% reduction in injury accidents,” he said.

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