The Town of Middletown is considering building a roundabout at the intersection of Berkeley, Green End, and Paradise avenues.
The 90-foot, single-lane roundabout is being proposed as a way to improve safety for both motorists and pedestrians, and to create a new gateway to the Sachuest Beaches.
At a Town Council meeting on Tuesday, officials and residents discussed the proposal, with some supporting the roundabout and others preferring a traditional four-way intersection.
Funding for engineering work on the roundabout by Fuss & O’Neill is already included in an existing contract with the Providence-based firm. A 30% design report is expected from Fuss & O’Neill in March, at which point the public will have the opportunity to provide input on the project.
If built, the roundabout would be the first of its kind in Middletown.
Roundabouts have been proposed in other locations in Middletown in the past, but those plans have not moved past the discussion phase.
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) had previously proposed installing roundabouts at Two-Mile Corner and at the intersection of Coddington Highway and West Main Road, but those plans were abandoned in 2011 due to opposition from the town and residents.
According to RIDOT, roundabouts are circular intersections that allow traffic to flow around a central island, with drivers entering the circle yielding to traffic already in the roundabout. Statistics from RIDOT show that roundabouts are safer and more cost-effective than traditional signalized intersections, with approximately 7,000 fatalities and nearly one million injuries occurring at intersections each year in the United States.
For more information on the project, click here.