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SR 2/SR 53 Interchange Feasibility Study

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  1. Proposed

  2. In Development

  3. Pre-construction

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A feasibility study of the SR 2 WB/SR 53 interchange, SR 53 and State Road intersection, and the widening of SR 53 from the SR 2 interchange to SR 163 near Port Clinton. Scroll toward the bottom of the page to view the public meeting presentation.


SR 2/53 interchange, SR 53/State Road intersection roundabouts simulations:




*Weekday traffic


*Weekend traffic


Thank you to those that participated at the virtual public meeting (December 2, 2020) and public comment period (through January 2, 2021) and provided your comments and feedback. A summary of comments received and ODOT’s responses have been compiled into the table below.

Summary of Public Comments/Concerns and ODOT Responses


Comments and Concerns (Summarized)

Project Team Response

I’m worried the roundabout will not work during the area’s heavy season and weekends. The traffic data was not collected properly and does not represent weekend summer traffic (arrivals on Friday, departures on Sunday).

Thank you for your comment. We are very sensitive to the fact that this corridor is important to the community and tourism economy for the area. When we presented the alternatives at the public meeting on December 2, 2020, the traffic counts were done on a Tuesday in July (July 9th, 2019). After hearing concerns during the public meeting about the traffic counts not being an accurate representation of the area, we decided to take another count over Memorial Day weekend to better understand peak traffic counts and make sure the roundabouts were still an effective safety measure. We also wanted to take additional counts of truck and trailer traffic to make sure peak numbers of these vehicle types would not impact the effectiveness of proposed improvements. According to the new traffic counts taken on May 29, 2021 the preferred recommended Alternative 1 will still be an effective measure to improve safety and efficiency in the project area during peak traffic times.

I’m concerned about large vehicles, RVs, and boat trailers not being able to traverse the roundabout.

Thank you for your comment. This is a major area for oversized loads such as campers, large boat trailers, and other large vehicles. Large vehicles and trailers will be accommodated by the roundabout design that is being developed. If needed, large vehicles will be able to use the truck apron on the central island to travel through the intersection. This truck apron is not a curb and will not inhibit the ability for trucks to easily drive through the roundabout. Additionally, the project engineers are working with nearby businesses to make sure the truck apron can be traversed by trailers that are low to the ground when carrying specialized loads such as yachts and other large boats. Traversing the truck apron is a common occurrence at roundabouts throughout Ohio. U.S. ODOT has videos online of how large vehicles use the central island to move through the roundabout, if you’d like more information or to see how they work.

I’m concerned about access into my business located along SR 53 especially for larger vehicles like semis and trailers.

Thank you for your comment. New drives into businesses will be included as part of this project where the roadway will be reconstructed. Many drives will be reconstructed in the same spot as they currently are, however if the proposed new drive is in a different location we will coordinate individually with the business to ensure the proposed access works for the business and the customers they serve.

How will slowing down traffic reduce a backup?

Thank you for your comment. Roundabouts allow for a continuous flow of traffic unlike traffic signals that make traffic come to a complete stop and can only flow during each traffic light cycle. Although roundabouts do slow drivers down (which improves safety), they allow for a continuous flow of traffic which keeps people moving and reduces congestion.

Drivers are unfamiliar with how to drive roundabouts, so how will they work in this area?

Thank you for your comment. Although they may be unfamiliar to some drivers, roundabouts do not require any new driving skills. Drivers must always yield the right-of-way to vehicles in the circulating roadway. Entering a roundabout requires basically the same skills as making a right turn out of a driveway, i.e. first yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk, then check for traffic approaching from the left. If there is traffic, yield and wait for a suitable gap. If there is none, make the turn and enter the traffic stream. Videos and other educational materials about how to navigate a roundabout are available online at ODOTs website.

I am concerned people will avoid using this exit and go to SR 269 to exit and then use the dangerous S. Danbury Road intersection, resulting in more deaths.

Thank you for your comment. The project team is aware of the safety concerns at the S. Danbury Road intersection. Safety improvements at this intersection have currently been funded for construction in either 2024 or 2025.

Construction will hurt surrounding businesses by cutting off access and people avoiding the area.

Thank you for your comment. We are committed to minimizing impacts to surrounding businesses and accessibility through the corridor as much as possible throughout construction. No closures will take place during the busy season (between Memorial Day to Labor Day), and access to all businesses and properties along SR 53 and State Road will be maintained throughout construction. Currently, we’re expecting a closure of SR 53 for 45 to 60 days, however we will try to keep State Road open for as long as possible during that closure. Unfortunately, a full closure of both State Road and SR 53 is likely for 2-3 weeks to complete and finish construction of the intersection. Access to all properties will always be maintained throughout construction. Lake Erie Shores and Islands will support ODOT in coordinating additional strategies to assist businesses who advertise on the blue Tourist Oriented Directional Signs (TODS) along the highway during closures.

Can the speed limit on SR 53 be reduced?

Thank you for your comment. Lowering the speed limit would not likely impact the number of crashes at the intersection due to the main crash type being rear-end. Our office recently reviewed the section of SR-53 between State Road and SR-163.  Our findings indicate that the existing journalized speed limit of 45 MPH is safe and appropriate.

Any thoughts on extending the west bound off ramp length for extra capacity, similar to East bound rt. 250 exit to Cedar Point?

Thank you for your comment. The existing SR 2 Westbound off ramp will be evaluated for capacity and geometrics per ODOT standards during the detailed design phase of the project.

How is snow cleared from a roundabout?

Thank you for your comment. Typically, a snowplow truck will start on the inner most section of the circulating roadway, often on the truck apron and keep circulating in a spiral outward with each revolution until the whole circle is cleared. Either the same plow vehicle or a second plow vehicle will clear the snow from the approaches and exits. Many Roundabouts have been built in snowy parts of the U.S. Some of the first examples of Roundabouts in the U.S., were in the ski areas of Vail, Colorado.

How will the land needed for the project be acquired from property owners?

Thank you for your comment. Much of the proposed project will be constructed within existing highway right‐of -way. However, permanent right‐of‐way will be needed from two small areas located in two quadrants of the proposed SR 53 and State Road roundabout. When the acquisition process begins, an ODOT representative will contact affected property owners to discuss the plans and show exactly how the project will affect the property. After knowing with certainty the amount of property that is needed, ODOT will estimate compensation, will initiate negotiations, and will make an offer to the property owner. To learn more about the acquisition process request or view the “When ODOT Needs Your Property” brochure online. The brochure explains why your property may be needed, explains the protections you have as a property owner, provides answers to some frequently asked questions, and provides contact information for the ODOT District Offices.

Is there a comparable intersection in the area/state which includes a similar population density, traffic patterns, and speed limits where a roundabout has already been installed? If so, do you have statistical information on the historical accident reports before and after the construction of the roundabout?

Thank you for your comment. One example of a roundabout that has similar characteristics to the roundabouts proposed for this project is the double roundabout interchange at I-75 and SR 64 in Bowling Green, Ohio (below).

 

 

This area handles seasonal and weekend traffic peaks caused by students arriving and leaving Bowling Green State University’s campus at certain times of the year in addition to city and school events. According to ODOT’s Transportation Information Mapping System (TIMS), the 2019 average annual daily traffic for the northbound off-ramp from SR 2 to SR 53 is 4,438 vehicles (4,277 cars, 161 trucks). The 2019 average annual daily traffic for the southbound off-ramp from I-75 to SR 64 is 4,450 vehicles (4,018 cars, 369 trucks). The speed limit on I-75 is 70 mph. The speed limit on SR 2 is 65 mph. According to 2018 US Census Data, the combined population of the City of Port Clinton, Portage, Danbury, Catawba, Bay and Erie Townships is 18,640. According to the same data, the population of the City of Bowling Green is 31,541. Although the roundabout near Bowling Green does not handle boats or other large marine-related vehicles or trailers, the Bowling Green roundabout handles large vehicles, trucks, and trailers that use the roundabout in a similar manner.

 

From 2015 through mid-2018 (prior to roundabout installation) there were a total of 6 crashes (1 fatal and 2 injury crashes) at the signalized intersection of I-75 and E. Wooster Street. After installation of the roundabout (from July 2019 through February 2020) there were 3 crashes that were all identified as property damage only crashes. Data was not pulled for the time following February 2020 due to lower traffic volumes and inaccurate data due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These numbers show that the installation of the roundabout has already demonstrated a reduction in crash severity (fender benders or property damage are preferrable to fatal and injury crashes). The roundabouts have also helped to reduce congestion and create a more appealing gateway into the city and campus.

Are there any other roundabouts in Ohio that are located such a short distance off a major state throughfare (Rt. 2)?

 

Thank you for your comment. One example of a roundabout located a short distance off a major highway is the roundabout located in Edgewater Park in Cleveland, Ohio. The roundabout (pictured below) handles traffic coming from US-20 and entering the park that features a public boat ramp, yacht club, marina, beach, pier, and access to other parks. Large boats and trailers navigate the roundabout frequently, especially on weekends during the summer.

 

Map

Description automatically generated

 

Another example is the double roundabout interchange at the US-33 and SR-664 intersection in the Hocking Hills area of Ohio. Like the previous examples, this area handles lots of weekend traffic from camp-goers entering the area from the surrounding cities. Another example is the previously mentioned double roundabout interchange at I-75 and SR 64 in Bowling Green, Ohio.

 

Other examples include the Dublin US-33 and SR 161 intersection, and the Dorr Street and McCord Road interchange off of US-23, to name a few.

Why spend the money to install a roundabout when a traffic signal is a cheaper option?

Thank you for your comment. ODOT, like other state and local agencies, is operating with reduced funding and is very conscious of the need to utilize funding in a manner that produces the greatest benefit for the least cost. Over the long term, roundabouts have cost savings compared to signalized intersections. Roundabouts do not have signal equipment to install and repair. Savings are estimated at an average of $5,000 per year in electricity and maintenance costs. The service life of a Roundabout is also 25 years vs. 10 years for traffic signals.

 

Alternative 1 with roundabouts ($7.53M) is less than Alternative 2 with traffic signal improvements ($8.25M) on this project. The rough cost of a single lane roundabout is between $1.25 and $2M per intersection. While this is a great deal of money, it is far less than the average cost of a single fatal car crash (taking into account lost earnings, lost household production, property damage, medical costs, and other factors). AAA estimates that a single fatal motor vehicle crash costs the nation $6 million. ODOT considers that the proposed project investment will be very cost-effective as it reduces the potential for fatalities and injuries at this intersection.

I am opposed to roundabouts.

Thank you for your comment. Drivers may be skeptical or opposed to roundabouts when they are proposed, even when considering that statistics show that the conversion of a two-way stop-controlled intersection to a roundabout reduces severe crashes by 82%. Several Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) studies show that opinions can change once drivers become familiar with roundabouts. In three communities where single-lane roundabouts replaced stop sign-controlled intersections, 31 percent of drivers supported the roundabouts before construction, compared with 63 percent shortly after (Retting et al., 2002). Follow-up surveys conducted in these communities after the roundabouts had been in place for more than one year found the level of public support increased to about 70 percent on average (Retting et al., 2007).

Download the public comment responses here 


Please review the printable project resources from the public meeting (December 2, 2020):

Flyer

Letter

Handout

Comment form

NEPA Assignment

Right-of-Way Brochure

  

View the public meeting presentation:


 

The video below discusses the safety and function of roundabouts:


 

The video below explains how to drive a roundabout like the one proposed for this intersection:


 

The video below explains how large vehicles such as semis, emergency response vehicles, trucks with boats or campers, farm equipment, etc. drive roundabouts like the one proposed for this intersection:


 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How will semis, campers, and boat haulers get through the roundabout?

A: When designing the roundabout, we took into account that large vehicles like campers, boat haulers, emergency services vehicles, tractor trailers, farm equipment, etc. have to be able to maneuver it. This was done by choosing the proper size for the roundabout that would be able to handle such traffic. One way this is achieved by using truck aprons, which is an area that falls between the central island and the circulating lane. It is a mountable portion allowing trucks to drive over it when necessary, but not used by passenger vehicles. Here is a quick video about truck aprons: https://youtu.be/KK5k2sH9Mko

Q: Will this work be done in the off-season?

A: Yes. ODOT understands the summer tourism in this area, so construction is planned for off-seasons.

Q: Will a single lane roundabout be able to handle the summer influx of traffic?

A: When the safety study was completed for this intersection, traffic data was collected during July, knowing that this was when the average weekday volumes would be at their highest for the entire year. This data yielded that a single lane roundabout was sufficient for each approach to the intersection.

Q: How will this reduce congestion?

A: The proposed roundabout will reduce entering vehicle speeds to 15-25 MPH, which only requires around a 50-100 foot gap in traffic for a vehicle to safely fit into traffic. Drivers entering the roundabout will slow down, look to the left, and yield to traffic in the intersection. If there is no traffic to the left, the driver continues through the roundabout. Roundabouts are designed to keep traffic flowing and reduce congestion. They also improve safety, reduce pollution, and complement the community. 

View Project's Public Comments ()

Public comments regarding our projects are always welcome!

This section is for frequently asked questions and project-related questions. You may notice that some projects require one or more formal comment period(s) with deadlines for comments to be considered during certain phase(s) of the project development process. Typically called the “public comment period," this is when ODOT asks the public for input before an important decision needs to be made, such as choosing a preferred alternative. You may notice these periods generally occur immediately following a public meeting.

All comments received, regardless of when or how they are submitted, will be reviewed and considered and/or responded to by the ODOT project team. Comments received through this forum will, when appropriate, be publicly posted along with ODOT’s response; Such comments will be moderated to remove personal information prior to posting.

Please let us know if you have questions, and thank you for your interest and input on the project! 

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