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.