The city of Oak Ridge plans to apply for a state grant to design and build a roundabout near Oak Ridge High School at a five-way intersection sometimes referred to as “Malfunction Junction.”
The Oak Ridge City Council unanimously approved the grant application on Monday. If approved, the Tennessee Department of Transportation grant would be used to build a roundabout at the intersection of Providence Road, Pennsylvania Avenue, East Pasadena Lane, and North Tulane Avenue.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $748,113. Tthe grant funding would come from the Transportation Alternative Program. TDOT funds 80 percent of those projects, excluding design, and a 20 percent local match is required.
The city’s cost would be about $150,000, and the city would pay for the design, officials said Monday.
Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said the roundabout will help improve traffic flow and air quality in Oak Ridge, and the proposal is in line with a program to optimize traffic signal timing.
There were 43 crashes at the intersection from February 2008 to September 2014, and eight resulted in injuries, Oak Ridge Public Works Director Gary Cinder told City Council members. Cinder said the predominant cause—it applied to 24 crashes—was a failure to yield or to use due care of caution.
Cinder other options for the intersections have been looked at since 2001, but “a roundabout is the way to go.”
Watson said roundabouts in other parts of the country have slowed down traffic, cut the number of vehicle crashes, and reduced serious injuries and fatalities. He said the roundabout would not require much land acquisition at the Oak Ridge intersection.
A roundabout is a circular intersection in which traffic flows continuously in one direction around a central island. There is one in use at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
In other business Monday, the City Council approved a 2 percent pay increase for Watson and a contract extension to 2017, and approved a contract with the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau for tourism promotion in Oak Ridge for the rest of Fiscal Year 2015, which ends June 30, in an amount not to exceed $225,000.
See the agenda here.
Jeff Ryman says
As a long-time former resident of Oak Ridge, and a former reisdent of Las Vegas who lived near several roundabouts, I can say this will be a definite improvement. It takes a little adjustment for roundabouts with more than two lanes if you are not used to them. Accidents, if they occur, will normally be less severe because the vehicles involved are going in the same direction rather than coming into the intersection aimed at each other.
Ellen Smith says
In my experience, multilane roundabouts are challenging, because drivers have to (1) figure out which lane corresponds to their planned exit from the roundabout (that’s particularly difficult for out-of-towners who aren’t sure where they are going) and (2) merge into the correct lane without colliding with another driver who is trying to merge into some other lane. Fortunately, a one-lane roundabout should work fine at Malfunction Junction, so we won’t need to worry about those problems.
Mark Caldwell says
It seems like a very good idea; hopefully, it will slow down the chronic speeders in that residential area. And the city officials were astute enough to apply for and receive a grant. Kudos to the city employees for spending our taxes wisely.
Just wished some current members of our city council would think of traffic safety in our city and reinstate/increase the number of traffic-enforcement cameras. That would be nice.
Joseph Lee says
Everyone stops. Everyone turns right. I like it.
Philip W Nipper says
Having lived in Europe for a few years, roundabouts are just another experience that one gets used to. Like gas at $10.00 a liter. And yes they are an efficient way of controlling traffic flow. The only problem I had with them was in Scotland where not only are you driving on the wrong side of the road in a car with the steering wheel in the wrong place but you can’t understand what the people are saying that are yelling at you as you try to maneuver through the bloody roundabout ! Ach aye Jym I missed the wee turn again! I had similar experiences in Italy. At least there I was able to understand their hand jesters….
Joseph Lee says
Mr. Nipper, that is the funniest thing I have read in a long time. Thank you.
Philip W Nipper says
You may find it funny but I still have nightmares about men in skirts standing in the middle of roundabouts! Hopefully our motoring public won’t become mentally scared from trying to navigate through this one.
Joseph Lee says
I think everything will be just fine. If you can get through Malfunction Junction now without getting Tee boned surely the motoring public will be able to drive in a big circle. Time will tell.
I can’t help you with the nightmare thing. You’re on your own with that one. Thanks again.
Peter Scheffler says
I also think it’s a good idea. It may take a bit of getting used to for pedestrians and bicyclists, too, as well as for motorists to know where to look for them.
Raymond Charles Kircher says
No prints, no analysis of costs, no plan B, I have to agree the cost is very under-estimated. The apron alone to handle the bus traffic will be over $100,000, then the huge concrete cap at least 75′ wide, all of it on a 80% + 20% city obligation. The pedestrians will be pushed to the outer pedestrian and bicycle path with splitting islands and signs stating traffic must yield to pedestrians. The busiest time for this new design is when pedestrians and bicycles are using the roundabout. That state law mandates the traffic to stop, which i see the problem truly lies. The money would be better spent on another plan that enhances pedestrian and bicycle paths.