Carmel, Ind. - Another roundabout is about to take shape in Carmel.
Drivers are used to a stoplight at the intersection of 116th Street and Gray Road, but it will be a roundabout in approximately 90 days.
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard says by closing the intersection instead of using lane restrictions, construction time is condensed from one year to three months.
"It’ll be tough and it’ll create congestion, but the approach that we take in Carmel is to get in, get the job done and get out quickly," said Mayor Brainard. "It saves us money, too. By totally closing the roundabout and not having to maintain traffic and have the flaggers there for a long period of time, it not only allows the project to go faster, but it allows the city to save money."
There are a few more roundabouts under construction right now. Whichever is finished first will be roundabout number 100 for the city. That should be sometime this fall.
"Carmel already has more roundabouts than any other city, regardless of size, in the entire United States," said Brainard. "And we’ve had great success with the roundabouts. We’ve seen a 90% decrease in fatalities, an 80% decrease in injury accidents and a 40% decrease in all accidents. We also save a lot of fuel. Studies show a tremendous amount of fuel is saved because people aren’t stopped and idling."
Brainard says roundabouts save the city money and move traffic more efficiently.
"Safety is greatly improved if we’re using the roundabouts and they move four to five times the number of cars per hour than a stoplight does. I think one of the worst things is coming up to a stoplight when nobody's there, sitting there idling and burning fuel."
"The roundabouts are a much less expensive solution. We don’t have to pay for that $150,000 light. We don’t have to pay for electricity to power it. We don’t have to pay for the engineer to go back and set the signal."
More roundabouts are scheduled for Gray Road in the future. One will be done in summer 2017 and another in summer 2018.
Brainard says he's excited about the plans and very proud.
"The UK Roundabout Appreciation Society named our roundabout around the Village of West Clay the most beautiful roundabout in the world."
It was announced last week in London.
The roundabout will be prominently featured on the cover of a calendar produced annually by the Society, featuring 11 other roundabouts that were also nominated for the honor of most beautiful. This is the second consecutive year a Carmel roundabout has been featured. Last year, the roundabout at 4th and Main Street was among the 12 featured in the calendar.
"I feel our roundabouts have been good for the city and to get this international recognition is good because it gets Carmel’s name out," said Brainard. "When we do economic development, I want people to recognize the name of Carmel, Indiana and any way we can do that, whether it’s through a roundabout or arts initiatives or whatever, it is good for Carmel and it’s good as we try to attract really good jobs to Indiana."
Click here for more on Carmel's roundabout projects.