Roundabout to be installed at M-37/Vance Road intersection in Blair Township
July 9, 2020 -- Adding yet again to a safety project along M-37 in Grand Traverse County's Blair Township, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) now plans to build a roundabout at the Vance Road intersection as well.
MDOT announced in December its plan to build a roundabout at the intersection of M-37 and Blair Townhall Road, adding to a previously planned project to extend a center left-turn lane on M-37 from Vance Road south through Blair Townhall Road.
Based on crash history, MDOT has decided to install roundabouts at both Blair Townhall Road and Vance Road as part of the 2021 work.
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 said she is looking forward to the multiple improvements.
"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 said. "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. 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.
More information about roundabouts is available at www.Michigan.gov/Roundabout.