Road Commission recommends roundabout at Gunn and Adams

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published September 26, 2017

 The intersection of Adams and Gunn roads is currently a four-way stop, which is less eco-friendly than a roundabout, according to Road Commission for Oakland County officials.

The intersection of Adams and Gunn roads is currently a four-way stop, which is less eco-friendly than a roundabout, according to Road Commission for Oakland County officials.

Photo by Deb Jacques

OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — Road Commission for Oakland County officials are recommending a traffic roundabout at the Adams and Gunn roads intersection, to be constructed next summer.

Ten crashes and 11 injuries at the intersection within a one-year period initiated the installation of a four-way stop sign, Tom Blust, Road Commission director of engineering, said during a Sept. 12 presentation to the Oakland Township Board of Trustees.

Delta Kelly Elementary School is located at the northwest corner of the intersection, which sees 14,000 cars per day, Blust said.

“Safety is our No. 1 goal,” Blust said. “We live safety.”

A recent engineering study examined two different options: a traditional traffic signal and a roundabout. A roundabout delivers a safer option, he said.

National studies show a 90 percent reduction in traffic fatalities at roundabouts, along with a 37 percent reduction in total crashes and a 75 percent reduction in injury crashes, Blust said.

“This is why roundabouts have become so popular,” he said. Benefits include a marked reduction in emissions — since cars do not stop and restart in a roundabout — and reduced maintenance costs because there is no signal to maintain. 

“It is so pretty in Oakland Township. We want to be sensitive to the environment,” Blust said.

The roundabout would increase traffic capacity, allowing from 30 to 50 percent more traffic, he said. The proposed roundabout would include a pedestrian-activated signal for walkers, runners and bicycle riders.

In addition, federal highway funds are more readily available for roundabouts, Blust said. Costs for a roundabout at the site are estimated at $2.2 million. An intersection with a traffic signal would cost an estimated $2.4 million.

Blust said an initial federal aid application for the project was rejected.

“We reapplied and are hoping to get the funds to build a solution here next summer,” he said. “We are pretty confident the federal aid funds will come into play with the roundabout.” 

Initial driver opposition to roundabouts is common, Blust said, but Federal Highway Administration statistics show that drivers eventually accept roundabouts.

“There is often resistance to change,” he said. Approximately 68 percent of drivers are opposed to a roundabout before it is built. But “within a year afterwards, three-fourths (of drivers) are in favor of the roundabout,” Blust said.

“When I found out about all the roundabouts coming to our community, I was not real happy,” Oakland Township Trustee Lana Mangiapane said. “But after one year — and everybody else learning how to drive through them — I am very happy.”