Busy summertime traffic in Danbury Township has provoked discussions between trustees and the Ohio Department of Transportation as to whether to put a traffic light at the intersection of North Shore Boulevard, Englebeck Road and State Route 163 (East Harbor Road), or close it for 76 days and build a “roundabout.”
ODOT officials believe constructing a “roundabout” is the best solution for maintaining traffic flow. Danbury Township trustees disagree. Trustee Dianne Rozak said the township would rather pay for a traffic light, and not have the intersection closed for more than 10 weeks.
To provide a look at the roundabout plan, ODOT will host a Virtual Public Meeting for township residents, businesses and interested parties on Thursday, Aug. 20 at 4 p.m. To connect online, go to https://transportation.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odot/projects/projects/109637 or call 855-925-2801, code 9509.
Rozak has said she does not believe a roundabout can accommodate the overwhelming amount of traffic the intersection handles each year, especially during the summer months when people flock to Vacationland.
In a survey of area traffic, Rozak said there are 1.2 million vehicles passing through the intersection en route to the Marblehead Lighthouse, 125,000 visitors to Lakeside Chautauqua, direct access to the Kelleys Island Ferry in the Village of Marblehead, 700 EMS and fire truck runs, 300 boat and trailer and visitor parking spaces at two state launch ramps, 400 private docks, 250 hotel and motel rooms and campsites, buses and private vehicles taking kids to school, 7,450 quarry stone haulers and access to many retail stores and a senior center.
ODOT officials say a roundabout would improve roadway geometry and safety. One lane of traffic would be kept open during construction.
ODOT officials have noted that turn lanes could be constructed at the intersection, but it would be a more expensive solution and left and right turn lanes are much less effective at mitigating the frequency and severity of crashes.
Angle and left turn crashes account for 63% of fatal crashes at any intersection. These are typically more severe because of the speed and manner of impact. A roundabout eliminates angle and left turn crashes by forcing vehicles to make a right turn in and a right turn out. Crashes that do occur in a roundabout are sideswipe in nature and less severe due to low vehicle speeds. At the State Route 163 and North Shore/Englebeck intersection, 77% of the crashes are angle crashes, which would be eliminated by a roundabout.