Upgrades to increase intersection safety at Trooper, Estes
Story by: Julie Fiedler
1ST INF. DIV. POST
Fort Riley will be making infrastructure upgrades to improve traffic flow in several key areas during the course of the next year.
The first phase of construction on a roundabout at Trooper Drive and Rifle Range Road is underway with the permanent closure of Venable Drive and the construction of a north-bound bypass lane along Trooper Drive.
Phase Two will close the intersection while the roundabout is constructed, and a third phase will finalize the bypass and incorporate it into the roundabout traffic pattern.
The Rifle Range Road roundabout is expected to be completed this fall.
Two roundabouts on Estes Road also will be built at the intersections with Kitty Road and Apennines Drive. Construction of those roundabouts is expected to begin this fall.
"At the current intersection of Estes Road and Kitty Road, traffic backs up," said Michael Goreham, chief, Planning Division, Directorate of Public Works. "It backs up in the morning coming into work … Then again at lunchtime, it backs up. It backs up when they're all trying to get back to work at the same time. And, in the afternoon, it backs up then, too."
After analyzing alternative options, like a traffic signal or adding extra lanes, the planning team settled on modern roundabouts for both intersections because they keep traffic moving and are more economical, Goreham said.
"They're a lot safer," said Alan Ingwersen, assistant master planner, DPW.
Once construction begins, the plan is to maintain through traffic on Kitty Road and Apennines Drive, while closing the stretch of Estes Road between the two, to minimize inconvenience to drivers.
"We always ask for people to be patient while we're building things," Ingwersen said.
"People will be inconvenienced, but when it's done, it will be improved," Goreham added.
The Estes Road roundabouts are expected to be completed summer 2014.
WHY A ROUNDABOUT?
Roundabouts are traditionally safer than traffic circles and intersections with traffic lights because fewer accidents occur in roundabouts. The accidents that do occur are typically less severe than those that occur at traffic circles and signalized intersections. Roundabouts also are safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Roundabouts improve traffic flow and can accommodate U-turns. Roundabouts are more environmentally friendly because they do not require electricity and result in less gas usage due to stop and start traffic flow. Roundabouts also can function during power outages.