ROUNDABOUT UPDATE AS OF 11/12/2020
Pre-Construction Meeting was held on Thursday November 12th, 2020.
Prime Contractor: Rose Construction
Anticipated Start Date: Mid-March, 2021
Anticipated Road Closure: End of March/Beginning of May, 2021 (Exact Date will be updated closer to start date)
Intersection open: On or before August 1, 2021
Completion date: On or before August 24, 2021
Waiting in traffic can be frustrating. Sitting and waiting to get through a highly-trafficked, poorly-controlled intersection during peak drive times can be even more frustrating. Atoka drivers who pass through the Atoka-Idaville and Rosemark Road intersection know the frustration all too well. Thousands of vehicles pass through the intersection every day – with the bulk of traffic during a few peak times during the day that cause significant backups and delays.
A long line of cars on Rosemark Road – sometimes 30 deep – creeping slowly towards the intersection. Drive…stop…drive…stop…wait…drive…stop…one at a time until you reach the intersection and then stop, wait and drive one last time. There simply has to be a better way.
Enter the Atoka Roundabout Project – a partnership between the Town of Atoka and the Tennessee Department of Transportation to install Tipton County's first modern roundabout at the intersection of Atoka-Idaville and Rosemark Roads. The effort, first proposed by the Town in 2012, is now in the early design stages to make significant changes to how traffic flows through one of Atoka's busiest intersections.
The Town recently issued a Request for Qualifications for a design firm to oversee the project and anticipates beginning design in early 2015.
Roundabouts are intersections designed around a central island where traffic rotates in a counter-clockwise fashion - entering through a slight right turn, progressing around the intersection to the desired roadway and then exiting again through a slight right turn.
The roundabout planned for the intersection of Atoka-Idaville and Rosemark Roads is envisioned as a single lane roundabout. Vehicles approaching the intersection will proceed immediately into the intersection unless a vehicle already in the intersection is in that immediate space. Vehicles in the roundabout have the right of way and vehicles entering will yield only if failure to do so would cause a collision. Once in the roundabout, a vehicle should NEVER stop.
Below is a helpful video from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) detailing the benefits of a roundabout and, more importantly, how to properly navigate through a modern roundabout.
All About a Roundabout
The Atoka roundabout project envisions a single lane roundabout as opposed to larger, multi-lane traffic circles seen in major metropolitan areas like Washington, DC and London. Below is an absolutely unhelpful video detailing the problems some travelers encounter when using larger, multi-lane traffic circles.
European Vacation - Roundabout
In Tipton County, drivers already encounter one roundabout - even if they don't recognize it. The courthouse square in Covington is very similar to a roundabout in design and operation. Traffic on the square travels in a counter-clockwise direction, has the right of way while in the traffic lane and exits either straight ahead or through a slight right turn.
There are two reasons that the Town and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) like the roundabout solution for the intersection of Atoka-Idaville and Rosemark Roads.
The first reason a roundabout is being considered is safety. A roundabout is a dramatically safer intersection when compared to a traditional, stop sign or stop light controlled intersection. There are three types of traffic conflict points that can exist in an intersection: diverging, merging and crossing. Conflict points are typically where accidents occur in an intersection.
Diverging conflict points tend to result in rear-end fender bender accidents where a car approaching the intersection impacts the rear bumper of the car ahead.
Merging conflict points tend to result in nose-to-nose accidents where the front of the driver side of one vehicle impacts the front of the passenger side of the other vehicle.
Crossing conflict points are typically the most dangerous type of impact – typically called a "t-bone" accident where the front of one vehicle impacts the side of the other vehicle in a nearly perpendicular fashion.
As it exists today, there are 9 points in the intersection where traffic intersects – 3 of each of the conflict point types : diverging, merging and crossing. In a three-legged roundabout, there are 6 conflict points – 3 diverging and 3 merging. In addition to a 33% reduction in traffic conflict points, the most dangerous type of conflict point – the crossing conflict – is completely eliminated.
The below diagram is from the Federal Highway Administration's report on roundabouts - issued June 2008 - showing the reduction in conflict points for a three-way intersection.
Figure 97. Illustration. Conflict Points for T Intersections with Single-Lane Approaches. This is an illustration of vehicle-vehicle conflict points for a traditional three-leg ("T") intersection and a three-leg roundabout. The number of vehicle-to-vehicle conflict points for roundabouts decreases from nine to six for three-leg intersections
Roundabout accidents, when they do occur, tend to occur at lower rates of speeds and with significantly less risk of fatality. In fact, NYDOT Transportation Project Manager Ken Kuminski recently commented about roundabouts installed in Hamburg, NY that, "accidents in them need a tow truck, not an ambulance."