Enhancing Safety with Innovative Teardrop Roundabout
Public-Private Safety Improvements at US 68/SR 32
Village of Mt. Orab, OH
US 68, a highly trafficked area in the Village of Mt. Orab, had been plagued by a history of accidents, with crash rates that exceeded twice the state’s average.
In 2018, a safety study conducted by Crawford, Murphy & Tilly (CMT) identified crucial countermeasures to enhance the safety performance of US 68, spanning from the westbound SR 32 ramps to Sterling Run Boulevard. In 2019, this project was submitted and granted safety funding. With the frequency of crashes occurring in this corridor, the project was elevated to Governor DeWine’s top 150 safety projects, making it a priority project.
Recognizing the significance of this initiative, the Village of Mt. Orab, in conjunction with ODOT District 9, spearheaded an accelerated design process. Prioritizing safety for both residents and visitors, the Public/Private Safety Improvements at US68/SR32 project became an example of innovation and excellence.
One of the project’s innovative aspects was the implementation of a teardrop roundabout, the first-of-its-kind in ODOT District 9. The roundabout was optimized to make the best use of the existing infrastructure, and its unique design allowed it to fit seamlessly within the existing US 68 right-of-way, maintaining the project’s accelerated schedule.
The project grappled with several complexities. Tight construction timelines and budget constraints required efficient use of existing infrastructure, and the project was designed to reuse as much existing asphalt pavement as possible, reducing costs and allowing continuous traffic flow through the interchange.
Traditional land acquisition processes were impractical due to the project timeline, leading to a unique public/private approach to accommodate the improvements along Sterling Run Boulevard. Kroger Co. owns the adjacent development and operates a grocery store within it. Their store and others in that development are a key driver of traffic to the area. CMT and the Village partnered with Kroger to coordinate private site improvements with the public project and secure a donation of the property needed for public improvements. This involved significant coordination but was achieved within the tight timeline, resulting in substantial cost savings for the project.
Simultaneously, the CMT team, in close partnership with ODOT and Mt. Orab, fast-tracked the design process, achieving completion in a mere 10 months. The team implemented innovative traffic management techniques at the interchange exit ramps with a queue detection system. The system ensured that queues would not occur on the SR 32 eastbound exit ramp and traffic would move efficiently through the interchange. The project not only achieved its safety objectives but also garnered approval from both the community and its leadership.
As the teardrop roundabout and enhanced interchange exit ramps came to life, accidents and traffic congestion decreased significantly, greatly improving the safety and quality of life for the residents of the Village of Mt. Orab. The project’s ability to secure funding and overcome challenges with creativity and determination has made it a shining example of how public and private entities can come together to create safer, more efficient roadways for the public.