This spring, construction crews will break ground on the Kane County Division of Transportation’s first modern roundabout at the intersection of Burlington Road and IL Route 47 in the village of Campton Hills.
Phase 2 engineering began on this project back in January 2012 after studies showed that a roundabout offers a significant savings in construction costs, is safer and allows for more traffic capacity than a traditional traffic signal.
While the Campton Hills roundabout will be a first for Kane County’s Division of Transportation, roundabouts in general are becoming popular throughout the United States and Europe.
In fact, there are a lot of misconceptions about roundabouts, based on drivers’ experiences with traffic circles — which are not the same thing.
Why Are Roundabouts Safer?
“Roundabouts slow drivers down through the intersection, but reduce congestion by eliminating crossing-movement conflicts, and are designed to get you out and on your way,” KDOT Senior Project Manager Jennifer O’Connell said.
The Burlington/IL 47 roundabout design is not a rotary or a traffic circle, O’Connell said, but is designed as a modern roundabout, complete with splitter islands to channelize traffic and a geometric design which ensures travel speeds of less than 25 mph.
The roadway geometry and signage will slow approaching drivers, who will yield until an opening arrives. Drivers in the circulating lane have the right of way. The shape of a modern roundabout makes it very difficult for entering traffic to use excessive speeds, making it much easier and safer to drive through than a traditional high-speed traffic signal.
Unlike a traditional traffic signal, a modern roundabout does not have to close for all but one or two vehicular movements at a time. Vehicles can enter the roundabout safely when they are ready to do so without having to wait until the traffic signal completes its entire cycle. This modern roundabout accommodates large trucks, snow plows and even large farm equipment.
Other Advantages of a Roundabout
The Insurance Institute on Highway Safety is one good source to learn more about roundabouts.
Some of the advantages of the roundabout include:
- $3,000 to $5,000 annual savings on traffic signal energy costs.
- Decreased air pollution.
- Conservation of land space.
- Less noise.
- Reduced maintenance.
Roundabouts generally are safer for pedestrians, the IHHS says. Pedestrians walk on sidewalks around the perimeter and cross only one direction of traffic at a time. Crossing distances are relatively short, and traffic speeds are lower than at traditional intersections.
For Kane County’s roundabout, construction is primarily funded with federal and state funds, while the county is responsible for about 2 percent of the construction costs of this project.
History of the Intersection
The intersection of Burlington Road and Illinois Route 47 is in a rural but well-traveled section of Kane County. Burlington Road is a Kane County highway, while Illinois Route 47 is owned and maintained by the state of Illinois.
For many years, there were stop signs at this intersection for Burlington Road only. Accidents in the 1990s prompted the Illinois Department of Transportation to install stop signs on Illinois Route 47 along with a flashing overhead beacon over the intersection, making the intersection a four-way stop and improving safety. After these traffic control devices were in place, accidents were significantly reduced, but vehicle delay increased.
While the four-way stop has made the intersection much safer, other issues have arisen. The increase in traffic on both roadways in recent years has led to significant backups and congestion at the intersection during rush hours. This congestion, and the prospect of more as the county continues to grow, prompted the Kane County Division of Transportation to begin looking for ways to address the congestion issue before it becomes worse.
So, What Happens Next?
Construction will start in the spring and has a target completion date of October 2016.
More information regarding this improvement can be found on this page of the Kane County Division of Transportation website.
About the Kane County Division of Transportation
KDOT’s mission is to provide and maintain a safe and efficient transportation system while maintaining the county’s visions and values. Serving a population of more than 520,000, Kane County’s transportation infrastructure is constantly being enhanced to accommodate growth. Kane County Division of Transportation employees are responsible for the maintenance, planning, design and construction of more than 320 miles of roadway. KDOT also provides technical assistance to the 16 townships and coordinates with a number of different state, regional, and local agencies on transportation and land use issues. For more information, visit the Kane County Division of Transportation website and Facebook page.