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Roundabout coming to Bengal Boulevard in 2019

Jul 25, 2018 10:15AM ● Published by Cassie Goff

Plans to construct a roundabout on Bengal Boulevard have many residents concerned. (Cassie Goff/City Journals)

By Cassie Goff | cassie@mycityjournals.com

Plans to construct the first roundabout in Cottonwood Heights has many residents concerned. On July 12, Cottonwood Heights held an open house at City Hall (2277 E. Bengal Blvd.) where city engineers presented preliminary plans to residents, tried to address some of their concerns and took additional comments and suggestions.

The proposed roundabout will be along Bengal Boulevard on the east side of Brighton High School and City Hall. It will take the place of the two signaled intersections approximately 200 feet apart; one at 2300 East and the other at 2325 East.

City engineers have wanted to improve that intersection since it was adopted from Salt Lake County when Cottonwood Heights became a city. With the proposed roundabout, the area is anticipated to be more safe and efficient by decreasing traffic congestion and collision points, increasing pedestrian and driver safety, and promoting better air quality.

Many of the concerns from residents focus on pedestrian and driver safety, especially for the students of Brighton High School. Additional concerns have focused on right-hand turn lanes, neighborhood traffic, driver uncertainty/usability, emergency vehicles, construction and funding.

To address some of these concerns, City Engineer Brad Gilson and Public Works Director Matthew Shipp provided general information about roundabouts from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and relative information for the proposed roundabout project.

According to FHWA, roundabouts improve safety by providing fewer conflict points, lower absolute speeds, having similar travel speeds for each leg, less driver stimuli and reduced driver frustration.

The proposed roundabout should improve pedestrian safety by requiring slower speeds, providing refuge islands and improved infrastructure. Currently, cars drive along Bengal Boulevard at around 35–40 mph. The proposed roundabout would require a designed speed for entry around 15 mph.

Additionally, the roundabout would provide refuge islands for pedestrians. Instead of being forced to cross the entire roadway all at once, pedestrians would cross the roadway in intervals, while only having to worry about oncoming traffic from one direction.

“We are not putting anything in the middle of the roundabout to invite attention from the pedestrians,” said Shipp.

As for the specific concern for students, the proposed roundabout design includes eight-foot sidewalks for larger groups of pedestrians. Designing physical barriers to prevent students from crossing into the roundabout has also been proposed.

For driver safety, the proposed roundabout should decrease collision points. Currently, there are about 52 collision points between the two signaled intersections. In contrast, the proposed roundabout would only have about eight collision points.  

It will also be easier to enter Brighton High School, since there is a direct access from Bengal Boulevard within the proposed plan, rather than entering through the neighborhood on 2325 East.

Air quality should also improve with the proposed roundabout. It is estimated to provide 4.37 tons per year in emission reduction.

Even though this is a city-initiated project, most of the funding will not come from the city. The total estimated budget allocation is $3,274,660. Most of the funding for construction costs will come from the Federal Transportation Improvement Program. The state, under SB-277, will provide $192,795 for a project sponsor match. The Salt Lake County Corridor Preservation Fund has provided $426,865 for right-of-way acquisition.

Currently, city engineers are working on a final design. Once that is completed, the project will go out for bid. It is estimated that construction for the roundabout will begin June 2019. Cottonwood Heights Public Works plans to have it completed before school begins in the fall.

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