Meadville Tribune

April 17, 2014

Roundabout in planning stages for yet another Saegertown intersection

By Pat Bywater
Meadville Tribune

MEADVILLE — The borough may be on its way to becoming the traffic roundabout capital of western Pennsylvania.

With one roundabout already approved and being designed for the northern intersection of routes 6, 19 and 198, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has set a public meeting for May 1 to discuss improvements to the southern intersection of routes 6, 19 and 198. The discussion will include the possibility of putting a traffic roundabout there as well as work to improve the turning radius, roadway surface, drainage and alignment. The meeting is set for 6 to 8 p.m. at the Saegertown Volunteer Fire Department and will also include discussion of plans to make improvements to the intersections of routes 198 and 86 in Woodcock Township and routes 198 and 77 in Blooming Valley Borough. A traffic roundabout is not among the alternatives for those intersections, however.

Roundabouts are rare in this region — the first, in Waterford Township at the intersection of routes 19 and 97, entered the construction phase just this week. Saegertown’s northern roundabout is clearing the enivronmental review process and is tentatively expected to be under construction in 2016, according to PennDOT.

Roundabouts have gained favor with PennDOT as a response to heavily traveled intersections for several reasons.

Among them, according to PennDOT:

n Studies show roundabouts are safer than intersections because they eliminate head-on, right angle and left-turning crashes.

- They calm traffic by encouraging slower speeds.

- They improve pedestrian safety by offering crossings of one-way traffic moving at much slower speeds and protective splitter islands.

- Roundabouts typically carry about 30 percent more vehicles than similarly sized intersections with traffic signals. Increased capacity at roundabouts is due to traffic flowing continuously versus stopping and waiting at a red light.

- There is no waiting around for a light to turn green at low traffic times, such as late at night.

- They save municipalities money. When PennDOT puts in traffic signals, maintenance becomes the responsibility of the host municipality.

Saegertown Borough Manager Chuck Lawrence said plans for the northern roundabout were generally well-received by the public and the borough council “was very receptive.”

“Traffic lights can back things up,” he pointed out.

During the May 1 meeting, plans will be displayed for the public to review and give feedback. A brief presentation will be given, and representatives from PennDOT will be available to answer questions and receive comments. Anyone with knowledge of historic resources in the project area is urged to attend and share their knowledge.

The plans display location meets accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Anyone requiring special assistance is asked to contact PennDOT prior to the meeting.

Anyone who requires additional information concerning this meeting may contact Brian R. Bowen, PennDOT project manager, at (814) 678-7366, by email at brbowen@pa.gov, or by writing to Brian R. Bowen, project manager, PennDOT Engineering District 1-0, P.O. Box 398, 255 Elm Street, Oil City, Pa. 16301.

You can go

The public can review plans for and make comments about intersection improvements plans for the southern intersection of routes 6, 19 and 198 in Saegertown Borough and the intersections of routes 198 and 86 in Woodcock Township and routes 198 and 77 in Blooming Valley Borough at a meeting on May 1. The meeting is set for 6 to 8 p.m. at the Saegertown Volunteer Fire Department, 601 Erie St.