Boardman traffic fix: Go round and round

By Denise Dick

The project cost is estimated at $1.2 million, and work is expected in 2012.

BOARDMAN — A well-rounded solution is planned for one intersection that’s been the location of multiple accidents.

A traffic study of Mathews and Sheridan roads recommended a roundabout as a solution to the problem intersection.

The corridor of Mathews Road from South Avenue to Sheridan Road had 128 accidents from 2003 to 2005, most occurring at South Avenue, the study found.

The cost of a roundabout is estimated at $1.2 million.

“It’s 100 percent federally funded,” said Kathleen Rodi, director of transportation for Eastgate Regional Council of Governments.

The intersection qualified for the federal funding through the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program. Its safety and crash data as well as expectations that completion will lower emissions contributed to the qualification, Rodi said.

A roundabout is a circular traffic pattern that guides cars along a curved path until they exit to another street. It prevents accidents and reduces congestion without traffic lights, officials have said.

Lynn Mar Avenue resident Willard Peet, who lives about a block from the traffic light, isn’t sure a roundabout will alleviate the problem.

He’s lived in his home since 1963 and has seen several accidents at the intersection.

“I try to avoid making a left turn from Sheridan onto Mathews,” he said. “You never know if someone is going to have an accident.”

Traffic in the area has increased as the township built up with shopping centers and restaurants, Peet said. Motorists travel through the intersection, trying to avoid busier sections of the township, he said.

Rodi said construction is expected in 2012.

Marilyn Kenner, chief deputy engineer for the Mahoning County engineer’s office, said that because the Ohio Department of Transportation helped pay for the safety study, that agency must author the contract. Once that’s done, the engineer’s office expects to select a contractor.

The roundabout would be the first of its kind in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

There are similar constructions at state routes 88 and 46 in Mecca Township and at U.S. Route 224 and state Routes 225 and 14 in Deerfield Township, Portage County, but those circles employ stop signs.

State Route 46 in Columbiana County also has a similar construction, but that one uses a yield sign.

The roundabout planned for Mathews and Sheridan would have a continuous traffic flow, Rodi said.

“It will probably be a bit of a learning curve,” Kenner said, referring to people’s getting accustomed to using it. “But I think if we do a good media campaign, the people will welcome it. It will be something new so people will have to get used to it.”

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