BIDWELL, OH (WOWK) — Folks in the Buckeye State will soon be driving in circles—literally.
The intersection of State Route 160 and State Route 554 in Bidwell, Ohio, has been known to be a dangerous one.
“A friend of mine…she was coming home one night from work and a guy didn’t stop at the stop sign here and she ended up over in the ditch that used to be there. She almost lost her life because of this intersection,” says Ceajay Ross, a resident of Vinton.
It’s the type of story that has put the intersection on the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)’s radar.
“Between 2014 and 2018 at this intersection we saw 17 crashes, more than half of those resulted in injuries… This intersection has been on our radar for a number of years. We have completed a couple of safety studies here. As a result of one of those, we did add flashing LED lights to the stop signs to try to improve safety, reduce the crashes unfortunately we didn’t see those numbers go down,” says Ashley Rittenhouse, public information officer for ODOT District 10.
So, ODOT put in a roundabout. It’s the first in Gallia County, and aside from putting in a few more light poles and trees, it is complete.
“When Governor DeWine came into office, he made safety a priority. He announced additional funding specifically for safety projects. And so, this intersection here at Bidwell actually ended up on the governor’s list of intersections across the state for safety improvements,” Rittenhouse says.
The project has a price tag of around two million dollars.
Local drivers say this roundabout has helped to make this intersection safer.
“A lot of it’s the way people drive. And you know they just need to slow down and with this turnabout, they will slow down,” says Dorsil McCoy, a resident of Gallia County.
“At the end of the day it’s a good thing, I mean it slows people down. The only issue I’ve seen is a lot of people just don’t understand how it works… There’s a lot of tax dollars right there, so hopefully, it saves people from getting severely hurt,” Ross says.
Rittenhouse says roundabouts are a proven safety countermeasure, and that they fully expect this roundabout to result in significant improvement in the safety of the intersection.