New roundabout designed to help make dangerous intersection safer

One of Butler County’s most dangerous intersections is much safer now, according to the state transportation department.

Today, the intersection at Ohio 73 and Jacksonburg Road, a single-lane roundabout, was scheduled to open. It’s a $2.9 million project designed to calm traffic and led by ODOT. The project was constructed by Barrett Paving Materials. Work began last summer.

“The need for a safety improvement project arose from the number of crashes, types of crashes and their severity, and ODOT determined that a roundabout would provide the optimal solution for the intersection based on research, traffic studies and public input,” ODOT said.

The Ohio 73/Jacksonburg Road intersection had not been just dangerous, but deadly, as multiple fatal accidents had occurred over the years. From 2012 through May 2015, there were 16 serious crashes at the intersection, three of which resulted in fatalities, according to ODOT. In October 2019, a crash involving three vehicles, including a semi, killed a Preble County mother and her 2-year-old child.

Roundabouts typically reduce crashes by 40-60%, according to experts, and can reduce injuries resulting in accidents by up to 80%. ODOT officials say roundabouts “almost completely eliminate incapacity injury and fatal crashes.”

ODOT officials are reminding drivers of the need for additional caution navigating the roundabout, including traveling at a reduced speed as it’s a new traffic pattern. The rural intersection is often traveled by semi-trucks.

“The geometry of the roundabout creates a low-speed environment which typically limits vehicle speeds to approximately 20 to 25 mph and can control vehicle speeds on four roads simultaneously,” according to ODOT. “The geometry also prevents high-angle crashes such as T-bone and left-turn angle crashes, and lower angle, low-speed crashes tend to be less severe than higher angle, high-speed crashes.

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens had previously said roundabouts in the county have resulted in a 70-75% reduction in injury accidents. So far, there have been no fatal accidents as conflict points have been reduced and because there’s no chance for a head-on collision when roundabouts are correctly used.

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