MDOT considering roundabout at U.S. 10 and Brye

January 2, 2013

AMBER TWP. — The Michigan Department of Transportation is considering building a round-about at the U.S. 10 and Brye Road intersection. The intersection is listed as one of the most dangerous in northwestern Michigan, along with the intersection at U.S. 10 and Pere Marquette Highway.

A recent report from MDOT, stated 13 crashes resulting in injuries occurred at U.S. 10 and Brye Road in 2012, including one fatality. The report stated the most common crash was a head-on crash caused by someone turning left. The most common left turn is for eastbound U.S. 10 traffic to turn left onto Brye Road towards the Meijer store.

Before it considers building a round-about, MDOT may look at putting a left-turn green light at the intersection.

“Turning volumes/crashes may not warrant a left turn phase,” the report states. “The traffic distribution is unbalanced between the U.S. 10 approaches and Brye Road, which may not be conductive to installing a roundabout. However, it would solve the left turn crash pattern and could act as a gateway into the Ludington area.”

A left-turn phase of the traffic light would cost $30,000 while a roundabout would cost $1.5 million.

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety several features of roundabouts promote safety. At traditional intersections with stop signs or traffic signals, some of the most common types of crashes are right-angle, left-turn, and head-on collisions. These types of collisions can be severe because vehicles may be traveling through the intersection at high speeds. With roundabouts, these types of potentially serious crashes essentially are eliminated because vehicles travel in the same direction. Installing roundabouts in place of traffic signals can also reduce the likelihood of rear-end crashes and their severity by removing the incentive for drivers to speed up as they approach green lights and by reducing abrupt stops at red lights. The vehicle-to-vehicle conflicts that occur at roundabouts generally involve a vehicle merging into the circular roadway, with both vehicles traveling at low speeds — generally less than 20 mph in urban areas and less than 30-35 mph in rural areas.

A 2001 Institute study of 23 intersections in the United States reported that converting intersections from traffic signals or stop signs to roundabouts reduced injury crashes by 80 percent and all crashes by 40 percent.

More roundabouts are being built throughout the state and in other states. In western Michigan, there are roundabouts at the intersection of M-46 and M-37 and also in Coopersville. They are most commonly found on the British isles.

MDOT is also considering a left-turn phase at the intersection of U.S. 10 and P.M. Highway, which is also one of Michigan’s most dangerous intersections. That intersection saw 18 crashes resulting in injuries in 2012.

The MDOT report, however, states that further study is needed before considering the $30,000 left lane phase change.

See the entire MDOT report here.


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