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October 23, 2013

Utica residents get a peek at bridge plans

Roundabouts, sound barriers among residents' main concerns

(Continued)

UTICA — GOING AROUND ABOUT ROUNDABOUTS

One of the main features in the interchange that has local residents concerned is three roundabouts planned in the Interstate 265 interchange with Ind. 62 and Port Road.

“That’s going to back up traffic,” said David Newton, a resident of Stoner Place subdivision off of New Chapel Road. “I like the roundabouts, I like the aesthetic appeal of it, but for the amount of traffic that’s going to go through that area, I don’t think that’s a proper place to have a roundabout.”

He added that businesses in nearby River Ridge, the Amazon fulfillment center employees and the area’s residents are all going to converge in that area and cause congestion.

Other nearby residents offered concerns that the roundabouts could cause accidents in the interchange.

The concern about roundabouts is something INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield said is a common response when the structures are proposed as part of an INDOT road project, especially if people are not familiar with the design.

“Research has shown they are safer [and] they move traffic better than traffic signals,” Wingfield said. “These are different than roundabouts that you would see in a local community, they are much larger.”

He explained that the larger size allows the lanes to accommodate trucks traveling through the intersections. Wingfield added INDOT is building more than 30 roundabouts throughout the state in the next few years. The plan for the Ind. 62 and I-265 intersection is to carry three lanes on Ind. 62 into the intersection in each direction. The right lane will serve as a bypass through the roundabouts that have their own dedicated lane and the roundabout itself will include two lanes. The highway exit and entrance ramps will feed into the roundabouts and a third roundabout is located on the north side of the interchange to help provide access to Port Road.

Newton said he preferred the traditional clover leaf pattern of exit and entrance ramps to access the interstate, which has no stop signs or traffic lights.

The plan for the roundabouts replaced the original plan for the interchange, called a diverging diamond, which used traffic signals to help maintain the flow of traffic.

Wingfield said the change was part of the WVB  East End Partners’ proposal, the contractor on the project, largely because it provided a way to address access to Port Road.

But it still did not satiate everyone’s concerns.

“I’ve just always had concerns about larger trucks that would be using [the roundabouts],” Waiz said. “But honestly, I don’t know anything about roundabouts, I’ll leave that up to the engineers.”

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