DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Grand Ledge Public Schools is building a roundabout on M-43 at Timber Creek Road to help with traffic flow and to improve access to their property.
A connecting road will be built from M-43 to Beagle Elementary, which will become a middle school next year, and to Grand Ledge High School.
Construction on the $1.3 million project started May 3 and is expected to be complete by Labor Day. The school will pay for it through their bond fund.
"We think that's going improve traffic flow for a lot of different reasons. Right now, almost everything ends up coming up and down Jenne Street and South Street," said John Ellsworth, the director of communication for Grand Ledge Public Schools. "And those are the only two options for vehicle traffic. This is going to give a third way to M-43 or what we call Saginaw once we get into the city area."
Ellsworth said a lot of community members are skeptical about the roundabout.
Grand Ledge resident Emma Hardy said she's concerned about safety.
"I think that a lot of high schoolers don't understand how to use roundabouts," Hardy said. "And I feel like that could pose safety hazards for other cars or people just walking. And I think that can cause accidents."
Greg Losch, the manager of the transportation service center for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said they did model several other alternatives like a boulevard and a full signal to see which was the best for safety, cost and access.
Losch said the roundabout was the safest option because of "when we start looking at you, know the users—especially the users of this access point, we're talking about school buses, we're talking about young drivers, high schoolers," Losch said. "And when you are at that intersection waiting to turn on to M-43 at a normal intersection when we modeled that we had concerns with sight distance. You can't initially see the vehicles that are traveling at a high rate of speed."
Losch said there are not many roundabouts in the area and adds it's going to take some time for people to get used to.
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