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Local

Additional funding sought in roundabout


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A roundabout at the intersection of Glidden and Rich roads northwest of DeKalb is being tabled so that county officials can explore more funding options for the project.

The DeKalb County Highway Committee on Thursday recommended to postpone the project until they meet in May. That will give the highway department time to talk with state transportation officials about funding opportunities, said Bill Lorence, DeKalb County Highway Department director and engineer.

The total project is estimated to cost between $1.2 million and $1.3 million, most if it paid for through state and federal funds.

“[State officials] would like to see this roundabout get built,” Lorence said. “However, even at the current estimate, if it were to be bid at that price, we’d probably still have $100,000 of expenses on our part.”

County board members on the highway committee want to drop that price even more, he said.

Lorence said that there may be more money available in the high-risk rural roads program that was included in the last federal transportation bill and is administered by each state.

The Illinois Department of Transportation could provide the county with additional funds, Lorence said, or it could ask that the county reapply to the program.

Another option at that intersection, a four-way stop, will also be discussed by county board members at the May highway committee meeting, Lorence said.

However, the county has to meet certain standards set by the Federal Highway Administration to get approved for that traffic-control device. The county must show that there were five vehicle accidents within the last 12 months that could have been prevented by a four-way stop.

In 2009, there were four accidents at that intersection – the highest rate since flashers were installed in January 2007, said Wayne Davey, support services manager for the highway department. Data for 2010 was not yet available, he said.

A roundabout is a one-way, circular intersection in which traffic flows around a center island, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Unlike a traffic circle, roundabout traffic yields on entry.

Because roundabout traffic enters and exits only through right turns, severe crashes are substantially reduced.

A four-way stop is significantly cheaper than a roundabout: Davey estimates the signs, posts and solar-powered flashers would cost $12,300 to install.

Despite being delayed, the roundabout could still be built this summer or early fall, Lorence said.

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