Roundabouts slow traffic, reduce intersection accidents and prevent auto-pollution in the starting and stopping of engines while improving the safety of pedestrian and cyclist travel (depending on the design). Vermont was slow to embrace roundabouts and obstacles remain. For example, for over a year now Stowe planners and CLD consulting engineers have gone back-and-forth on a roundabout at the Moscow Road and Rte. 100 intersection.
Originally, VTrans had planned to repave the entire section of Rte. 100 between Waterbury and Stowe, but put it on hold as the discussion of the Moscow Road intersection and another intersection further up the road continued. The Moscow Road intersection is considered to be dangerous because the turnout of Moscow Road presents problems of limited lines of sight and traffic on Rte. 100 moving 50-plus miles per hour.
CLD came up with four alternatives to alleviate these problems: a no-build option, a left-turn lane with or without a traffic signal, or a roundabout. The first two do next-to-nothing for the safety of the intersection. The signal would offer some safety but would slow down traffic significantly. The roundabout would slow down (but not stop) traffic to improve safety and visibility at that intersection. There was overwhelming support from both Stowe residents and the Stowe Selectboard. Opposition to the roundabout is concerned with slowed traffic and the managing of the road, especially in bad weather.
The project will cost $2.2 million, 80 percent of which is covered by VTrans. Earlier this fall, the Stowe Selectboard accepted the draft final report from CLD and is working with VTrans to move forward with the roundabout. We await the final design considerations.