Roundabouts aren’t just for European countries anymore.
Also known as traffic circles, the circular intersections allow traffic to flow in one direction around a central island. The configuration eliminates the need for a traffic signal.
Motorists are directed to slow down but do not need to stop in the roundabout, instead driving along the curving roadway until reaching the desired exit point.
In modern roundabouts, traffic already in the circle is given the right-of-way.
Roundabouts are credited for reducing both the number and severity of vehicle crashes compared to standard intersections, virtually eliminating head-on and T-bone collisions.
“They are much safer,” Kendall County Highway Engineer Fran Klaas said.
Roundabouts figure prominently in two major county highway projects.
One is soon to be constructed at Eldamain Road and Fox Road west of Yorkville, as part of the Eldamain Road bridge project. The roundabout connection will be made at a point north of the railroad tracks, Klaas said.
The other roundabout will be an important part in the Collins Road extension project, which is expected to start construction next year near Oswego.
That project will include the complete reconstruction of Minkler Road from Route 71 south 1 mile to a new roundabout intersection with Collins, which is to be extended to the west about 1.5 miles from Grove Road.
The Kendall County Board is moving ahead with plans for the project, estimated at $14 million.
On June 21 board members approved the use of eminent domain to acquire about 10 acres of land in connection with the project.
Board members met in closed session to discuss the matter before emerging to approve a resolution invoking its power of eminent domain, which allows units of government to acquire property for public use.
The property is to be acquired along the east side of Minkler Road and along the proposed right-of-way for the Collins Road extension.
The county and the property owner have not yet been able to arrive at a deal, prompting the county board to use eminent domain.
Klaas told the county board that the Collins Road extension will provide an important link for motorists.
Minkler Road, which originates as the southern leg of the intersection at Orchard Road and Route 71, extends south to Route 126.
The Collins extension will end at Minkler, Klaas said, but the roundabout will be constructed with four legs, allowing for the eventual extension of Collins to Route 71, which runs on a southwesterly path from the Orchard-Minkler intersection.
Initially, the roundabout’s fourth leg to the west will simply be closed off, Klaas said.
The county is expected to let bids for construction on the project at the start of 2023, Klaas said. The work is expected to take two construction seasons, with completion in 2024.