Traverse City News and Events

MDOT Planning Roundabout At M-37/Vance Road In 2021

By Beth Milligan | July 9, 2020

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced Thursday it will build a roundabout at the intersection of M-37 and Vance Road in 2021 - adding a second roundabout in the corridor after a previously announced roundabout for the M-37/Blair Townhall Road intersection, which will also be built next year.

MDOT said that based on crash history, it will now install roundabouts at both intersections in 2021, in addition to extending a center left-turn lane on M-37 from Vance Road south through Blair Townhall Road. From 2013 to 2018, 28 crashes occurred at the Blair Townhall Road intersection. Eight crashes resulted in injuries and one person was killed. From 2015 to 2019, 32 crashes occurred at the Vance Road intersection. Eleven crashes resulted in injuries, including one crash with severe injuries.

Blair Township Supervisor Nicole Blonshine says she is looking forward to the improvement projects. "Initially, I was hesitant, almost opposed to roundabouts versus traffic lights. However, after multiple meetings, crash reviews and obtaining more knowledge and education on the statistics of roundabouts, I fully support MDOT's decision," Blonshine says. "I remain very grateful that they have recognized the need for this improvement and are willing to make this investment."

The addition of the center left-turn lane and the roundabouts are expected to reduce the likelihood of certain types of crashes common in this area. The most prevalent type of crash at the intersection involved rear-end crashes, with angle crashes (involving one driver turning in front of another driver) a close second. Center left-turn lanes have been shown to be effective in allowing a safe area for turning vehicles to await a safe gap in traffic to complete a left-hand turn, while allowing through-traffic to proceed, according to MDOT. Roundabouts help prevent severe crashes that often result in injuries or fatalities, while allowing better traffic flow than with a traffic signal.

MDOT plans to have a public meeting to discuss the center-left turn lane and roundabout projects later in 2020.

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