School

Roundabout Recommended for New School Intersection

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(Editor’s note: The traffic circle on Lovett Road is not a traditional roundabout and is not representative of the solution proposed for Sullivan and Gurney.  A more detailed article on Roundabouts will be published in CentralSpeaks.com in the next few weeks.)

    The EBR Parish Department of Public Works Traffic Engineering Department states that they are in agreement with the traffic consultant hired by the Central Community School System.  In an email Tuesday to Ross Bogan, the School System’s Construction Coordinator, EBR DPW Chief Engineer Bryan Harmon concurred with the School System consultant’s findings that either a Roundabout or an intersection with traffic signals would be the best solution to the anticipated traffic at the Gurney and Sullivan intersection in front of the new school complex.  Harmon further explained that the engineering studies show that a Roundabout is the technically better and less expensive solution.

    The Central Community School Board passed a resolution in its last meeting requesting that EBR Parish allow the intersection to be handled through the use of turn lanes and a stop sign.  When contacted for comment Superintendent Faulk explained that the School Board's request to avoid a Roundabout was in response to public feedback opposing Roundabouts, although some Board Members have stated that properly constructed Roundabouts do work effectively.  Additionally, Faulk relayed the Board's concern that the possible requirement to acquire property to construct a Roundabout might result in a delay in the completion of the new school projects.  The School System is inquiring as to whether there is an appeals process concerning this decision, but the Superintendent stands ready to recommend to the Board that plans go forward to include a roundabout if that is the requirement.

    In Tuesday’s email Harmon states: “Ross, our traffic engineering division completed their additional modeling of your school site as noted in the attached email below.  Based on these results they have re-confirmed the recommendations of your original traffic consultant regarding the need for either a signalized intersection or a Roundabout.  After receiving these results, I had asked Traffic to go back and assure that if growth in this area exceeded the model projections would we have the ability to expand the capacity of the proposed Roundabout or would we be locked into a fixed capacity and configuration.

    I have since received the conformation that capacity modification could be made, therefore based on both the recommendation of your traffic consultant and the findings of our Traffic Engineering Division, the required improvement for this intersection shall be a Roundabout as recommended.  Since we know that the Central School Board is now opposed to the Roundabout design concept, an alternative to the Roundabout will be a fully signalized intersection.  However as noted this alternative will have a higher long term O&M cost to the City-Parish and it is our understanding that this alternative is not consistent with the recommendation and desires of the City of Central (i.e. they desire the Roundabout).”

    David Barrow, City of Central Executive Assistant offers the following comment:  “Based upon the official traffic study report and recommendations from Neel Schaffer, the statements from Mr. Lebas, the independent study performed and recommended by EBR Traffic Engineering, and the opinion from Chief Engineer Bryan Harmon, it is my recommendation that a roundabout be installed at this intersection to provide better traffic flow and reduce the likelihood of serious accidents occurring at this intersection.”

    The engineering analysis included in the email from EBR stated that if the intersection were controlled only by a stop sign and turn lanes, the Gurney approach would be rated as an “F” in the initial year.  With traffic lights that approach would rate a “C” for the first ten years and a “D+” after 20 years.  With a Roundabout the approach would rate an “A” initially, a “B” for the next 10 years, and a “D” after 20 years.

    The email from EBR includes the following summary recommendation:  “From the findings, it is our conclusion that an un-signalized stop controlled intersection is not an acceptable option based on the expected low service rate. The roundabout option performs at an overall higher service rate than that of the signalized intersection option. Additionally, the operational/ maintenance cost of the signalized intersection option is expected to be much higher than that of the roundabout option.  Therefore, based on the service rates and operational/maintenance cost, the roundabout option is recommended.”

2 Comments

  1. Dee

    February 3, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    How much money and time was spent on this traffic study that the School Board wants to disagree with? Why bother?

  2. Another Central Guest

    February 3, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Since our school system is all for safety of the children as displayed on canceling school today, why not agree with the roundabout and move forward. Roundabouts have been proven to be safer than intersections. Roundabouts remove the chances for T-bone accidents which are the cause of majority of the serious accidents. Roundabouts accidents are usually sideswipes which are less sever.

    Once the driving public is educated about roundabouts the number of accidents are reduce to little if not none.

    Do the right thing school board and approve the roundabout.

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