Roundabouts are getting more popular here
Roundabouts seem to be getting more popular in the Rogue Valley. I wasn’t too sure about them at first, but they seem to be OK after all. They don’t seem to be too hard to negotiate in my big truck. How many do we have right now, and how many more are we going to get?
— Dale V., Central Point
Well, Dale, the first roundabout in our valley is in your backyard.
The traffic circle at Taylor Road and Silver Creek Drive opened in 2004.
Medford opened a roundabout at Highland Drive and Siskiyou Boulevard two years later.
A new roundabout opened recently at Highway 140 and Foothill Road in White City. This was the first roundabout to open on a major highway in Jackson County.
Another roundabout is being built on Springbrook Road in Medford, and a roundabout is being contemplated where East Main Street connects with Highland Drive.
To answer your question, Dale, we have three roundabouts in the valley, not counting roundabouts in some shopping centers. We have another roundabout in the works and a fifth roundabout that is still being considered.
Why a roundabout, you might ask?
Generally, they are cheaper to operate in the long-term and result in far fewer serious accidents than a typical signalized intersection. For motorists, a roundabout means you’re not waiting for a light to change before you can proceed.
Also, modern roundabouts are designed to handle bigger vehicles, including your truck, Dale.
The Highway 140 roundabout is able to handle freight trucks and trailers because of its large diameter.
The disadvantage to a roundabout is it requires a larger chunk of land to work properly compared to a typical intersection.
The Rogue Valley isn’t the only spot in the state that has roundabouts, Dale. Bend has a number of them, and ODOT has other large roundabouts on major highways in the state.
Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.