Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

November 30, 2012

Safety of roundabout to be studied

By Wade Coggeshall
CNHI

AVON — The town council here has approved a contract with American Structurepoint to conduct a road safety audit of the Dan Jones Road/County Road 100 South roundabout.

Federal Highway Safety Improvement grants will pay for 90 percent of the study. The town of Avon will pay the remaining 10 percent.

"What's driving this is the high accident rate on (C.R.) 100 South," said Ryan Cannon, Avon's public works director. "This engineer will look at the roundabout from a traffic and pedestrian standpoint and see if there are any improvements that can be made to make it safer."

Cannon says there are more accidents at this roundabout than any of the others in town, but this one also has a lot more traffic.

"We get a lot of complaints about that one being unsafe," he said. "That's really what prompted us to look at it again."

The Dan Jones/100 South roundabout was the first one built in Avon. It opened in 2008.

"We figured, with the federal funds and complaints we get, we'd take a look at it and make sure there aren't any improvements that need to be made," Cannon said.

He guesses that if there are any alterations, they would be minor like changes to signs or pavement markings, or curbs lengthened or added.

"I don't think there would be any major modifications," Cannon said. "That's not what we're anticipating. At least I hope that's not what we find."

The contract also stipulates the creation of targeted education for the public, based on the type of accidents occurring at the roundabout. Cannon isn't yet sure how that will be disseminated.

The study is expected to be done in the spring.

Avon also is using federal Highway Safety Improvement funds to install emergency signal pre-emption devices on all traffic lights in Washington Township. The town and township will cover 10 percent of the cost.

The device allows emergency vehicles to change traffic signals from red to green while on runs. Cannon says they'll respond faster and help clear traffic out of their way. Congestion on U.S. 36 often forces emergency vehicles to drive on the wrong side of the road to get to their destination.

"It's safer for (emergency responders) and the public too," Cannon said of the pre-emption devices. "It's a big benefit for everybody to get this done."

He added that motorists will know when a traffic signal is being modified because a strobe light on the signal will turn on.

Installation should be complete by Wednesday.

wade.coggeshall@flyergroup.com