Dubuque plans city's second roundabout

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The City of Dubuque is strongly considering adding a second roundabout after an intersection was originally planned to have a traffic light installed.

The intersection of North Grandview Ave. and University Ave. This is the proposed location of Dubuque's second roundabout.

The proposed location is at the intersection of North Grandview Avenue and University Avenue.

The high-traffic area and would be the second in Dubuque, just north of the five-way roundabout crews built last year.

In August 2016 when the city constructed its first roundabout by Delhi and Grace Streets, businesses and residents nearby the area saw the effects of the road change. They went to the city and asked if an additional one could be installed just down the road.

The Dubuque City Council and the Iowa Department of Transportation have already approved the project.

But prior to moving ahead with construction, they will be holding a public information meeting Thursday, November 30, to present and take questions on the construction.

Some city officials say when considering the positive response from the community on the effects of a roundabout in that area, there is a very high chance this project will happen.

"This was originally slated to be a signal project along with the one we just did at Loras and Grandview," Jon Dienst, Civil Engineer II for the City of Dubuque said. "We were going to put two signals in succession and have it timed to work out of the Grandview/Delhi roundabout but there was enough interest from people that we brought the question up to the Iowa Department of Transportation."

The DOT approved the idea and also offered over $500,000 in grants, including a portion coming from the Iowa Clean Air Attainment Program.

Dienst said when factoring in the grants with federal and state money, it's like paying $200,000 from the city for a nearly $1 million project.

At this point, Dienst added it would take a public outcry to stop the roundabout from being constructed.

Both Dienst and the Dubuque Police Department say there are a lot of positive reasons to go ahead with the plan.

Engineers like Dienst in the city argue a roundabout would positively impact the safety of drivers at the current intersection, providing levels of safety that standard intersections cannot match.

"Standard four-way intersections with signals, you've got 32 conflict points," Dienst said. "Whereas at a four-legged roundabout it's eight. And the crashes that occur or potentially could occur, tend to be just glancing blows or sideswipes versus getting t-boned going through a signal."

Lieutenant Scott Baxter with the Dubuque Police Department said since the roundabout at Delhi, Grace and North Grandview officially opened months ago, there have only been four accidents since it was put in place with no injuries.

According to studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Federal Highway Administration, roundabouts normally see a 37 percent decline in total collisions, a 75 percent decline in injuries in those collisions, and a 90 percent decline in fatalities caused by collisions.

One of the issues raised by Dubuquers has been about the construction's proximity to nearby schools and Allison-Henderson Park.

Dienst explained to me they would not begin road work until June to reduce the effect on traffic during the school year. He added the city does not plan to close the roads during construction.

The public information meeting will be tomorrow from 5-7 p.m. at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church's Living Faith Center, located at 1755 Delhi St.