Roundabouts no longer part of Bridge Avenue 2020 plan

Published 5:51 pm Friday, March 8, 2019

Roundabouts are reportedly no longer being considered at the intersection of Richway Drive and Bridge Avenue when Bridge Avenue is reconstructed in 2020.

The option had been discussed as part of preliminary plans for the expected project but was rejected because it was not as accommodating as a traffic signal at the intersection and its construction would have limited access to Eastgate Road and nearby apartments, said Albert Lea City Engineer Steven Jahnke.

“The modified roundabout that we were looking at, it just doesn’t fit in that intersection,” he said.

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Jahnke noted if those mitigating factors had not come into play, a roundabout would have been preferred because the number of accidents in that format is either similar or lower than at an intersection and such crashes are less severe.

Matt Hansen of SRF Consulting Group said Thursday during a joint Albert Lea-Freeborn County meeting that two negatives of roundabouts are that they’re not as accommodating as a traffic signal and a bigger footprint is needed for implementation, which could necessitate the purchase of private real estate. 

The traffic lights at the intersection are expected to be shifted to ensure motorists traveling north from Richway to Bridge see the lights.

Hansen said SRF Consulting recommends the signal lights at the intersection of Hawthorne Street and Bridge Avenue be removed and an advanced pedestrian sign similar to the one in front of Lou-Rich and Innovance be installed. Stop signs would be in place on side streets at the intersection.

“SRF is recommending a turn lane on Bridge both northbound and southbound,” Jahnke said. “They are still evaluating the turn lanes going east and west on Hawthorne at Bridge.”

A second open house for Bridge Avenue reconstruction discussion is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. March 26 at Albert Lea City Hall.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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