Senior staff writer
The first of several roundabouts in Greenwood is nearing completion at Main Street and Averitt Road.
The unique three-way roundabout is scheduled to open during the second week in August, several days after students return to school. City officials and project engineers were hopeful that the project would have been completed by Thursday, the first day of school.
Landscaping and all amenities are to be finished by Oct. 15, according to Trent Newport of CrossRoad Engineers in Beech Grove.
The roundabout will eliminate the stop sign at Averitt Road. City planners contend the roundabout is considerably safer than the previous intersection where northbound motorists on Averitt had a stop sign and waited for westbound motorists to either turn south onto Averitt or continue west on Main.
“The goal is to move traffic on Main Street west of Highway 31,” Newport said. “The biggest problem is the public’s apprehension of roundabouts. It will be safer for motorists and pedestrians.”
Newport and Greenwood city engineer Mark Richards said motorists need to be patient once the roundabout opens because it will be a new experience. They urge motorists to slow down, yield to traffic already in the circle, obey one-way signs at all times and watch for pedestrians and bicycles.
Two westbound lanes should result in a smooth traffic flow to continue west on Main or to go south on Averitt. Newport pointed out that the two-lane design improves the egress for semitrailers, fire trucks and school buses from the west. The approach from the east is only one lane.
A pedestrian/bicycle crosswalk will be located just west of the roundabout.
“Roundabouts are safer, more efficient and greener than the intersections that were there previously,” Newport pointed out. “We’re not going to say there won’t be accidents; if there is an accident, it won’t be a T-bone type.”
Throughout Indiana and the United States, roundabouts have resulted in less fatalities and injuries. “There’s a lot more coming,” Newport said last week at a meeting at the Greenwood City Building.
City planners expect to soon compete the Sheek-Worthsville Road roundabout, which will help move traffic flow toward the new I-65 interchange at Worthsville Road. Future roundabouts in Greenwood are to begin in 2018 at Smith Valley Road and Madison Avenue, 2019 at Smith Valley and Yorktown roads and in 2020 at Worthsville Road and Averitt Road.
Planners continue to examine a possible one at Stop 18 and Averitt roads, where the east and west sides of Stop 18 do not line up at one of the entrances to the Freedom Springs Aquatic Park and Freedom Park.
CrossRoad Engineers have built more than 60 roundabouts in Indiana.