The proposed double roundabout plan.
The proposed double roundabout plan.

Archived Story

Roundabouts coming to Niles?

Published 9:16am Thursday, May 29, 2014

Many consider the “offset T” intersection of Gumwood and Redfield roads in Niles to be one of the most unsafe and inefficient intersections in the area.

To address the issue, Milton Township and the Cass County Road Commission jointly hired a Lansing engineering firm to come up with a feasibility study for what could be done with the intersection.

Robert Matko, of the engineering firm CESO, presented the study to the Milton Township Board of Trustees at their regular Monday meeting.

After looking at eight different options, Matko said his firm narrowed the list down to two changes they are willing to recommend. Both involved at least one roundabout.

“We looked at safety first — what is going to be the safest option out there?” Matko said. “Roundabouts reduce the frequency and severity of accidents while improving the capacity of the intersection by up to 50 percent.”

The proposed single roundabout plan with Gumwood straightened.
The proposed single roundabout plan with Gumwood straightened.

According to statistics compiled in the study, there have been 15 accidents at the intersection from 2009 to 2013 with no fatalities. Ten of the accidents, Matko said, were “rear end” or “angle” accidents.

The first of the two options recommended by CESO would require the installation of two roundabouts — one at the west leg of the intersection and one at the east leg.

For the second recommendation, a roundabout would be placed only at the east leg. In that plan, Gumwood Road would be straightened north from the east leg, eliminating the west leg all together. That plan would require about 4.5 acres owned by the Richard Gerbeth family to be turned into public right of way.

Gerbeth, who was present at the meeting along with many owners of property near the intersection, called the single roundabout option unacceptable, mainly because it would mean losing a portion of his land.

“I’ll only agree to that kicking and screaming,” he said.

Matko said the single roundabout option was the safest and most efficient of the two they recommended.

“I know some of these options do take property,” he said. “For me it is what is the safest situation.”

Robert Benjamin, Milton Township supervisor, said the Cass County Road Commission would have the final say on how to proceed.

Joe Bellina, of the Cass County Road Commission, said copies of the report would be given to members of the road commission.

“We need to look at the cost of all the options,” he said.

No cost estimates were provided at the meeting.

To view the entire presentation visit the Milton Township website, miltontwp.org.

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