Cedar Rapids holds info session for new roundabout

LINN COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) - Cedar Rapids officials are looking at putting in a new roundabout as a way to reduce the number of crashes in a busy intersection. The intersection is Williams Boulevard and Dean Road Southwest in Linn County.

This comes after more than 20 crashes in the past five years.

City officials came to the Gardens of Cedar Rapids nursing home to explain to people how the roundabouts work.

"Head and shoulders, it'll be safer than a signal," said Traffic Engineering Program Manager John Witt. "Roundabouts reduce all crashes by 40 percent, injuries by 75 percent and fatal by over 95 percent."

Kathie McLaren has lived in the area for about nine years. She said a roundabout could be the answer to a dangerous problem.

"It could slow down traffic and increase safety," said McLaren. "I know personally two people have been injured at the intersection and one died," said McLaren.

Neil Rohlena agrees something needs to be done but sees a flaw in the design.

"It's too small," said Rohlena. "I think a roundabout is nice it just needs to be bigger. A bigger circle with two-car width in the lanes."

"I would like everybody to have an open mind about it because people think roundabouts are not easy to facilitate," said McLaren. "If they practice them and go through them and learn about them, they’ll be more comfortable using it."

The city plans to start construction by spring 2020 and wrap up that fall.

At the intersection in front of Hoover Elementary School, there were at least 47 crashes from 2011 to when it closed for reconstruction.
Since re-opening as a roundabout in 2018, there's only been one.

Not everybody's in complete agreement about reconstructing there, though.