GRAND LEDGE- A project to build a new roundabout, approved by voters over two years ago, might be finally getting under way.
The roundabout project, which is part of Grand Ledge Public Schools’ 22-acre athletic field restructuring, was designed to help with the flow of traffic from the high school, middle school and the new athletic fields that are under development by providing access to and from M-43. The roundabout project will be placed on M-43 between Jenne St. and the Brookside drive neighborhood.
22 Acres is used as an athletic practice field for sports like soccer, football and lacrosse. There is no driveway from M-43 that allows access to this property.
Grand Ledge Public Schools Bond Supervisor Dr. Mike Johnson serves as the liaison between the Grand Ledge School Board and Clark Construction Company, GMB Architecture, and MDOT in this case.
“It takes time and patience, but lo and behold … now we’re looking at major access,” Johnson said.
Johnson has noticed in the past with the abundance of sporting events and activities hosted by Grand Ledge they needed to improve traffic flow.
“It wasn’t a roundabout per se; it was about getting access,” said Johnson.
About 15 months ago, a meeting was held with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Federal Highway Department to get Grand Ledge’s approval to start the process. Although the initial vision was to place a traffic light, MDOT decided to build a roundabout.
On Feb. 22, 2021 the Grand Ledge Public Schools property was transferred to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).
There were a lot of things to consider in deciding to construct a roundabout. One issue was “sight distance.” With a traffic light, it would be difficult to look around the curve left or right. Another concern was that MDOT was not allowed to install certain traffic signals that didn’t meet certain criteria, including volumes of traffic and delay introduced into the main route of traffic.
“There are challenges with the design of every project when dealing with engineering,” said Lansing Transportation Service Center manager Greg Losch. “However, there was nothing that couldn’t be solved through discussion and planning.”
The roundabout was the safest and most efficient way that Grand Ledge was looking for.
To make more people aware of the new roundabout, there will be payment markings, traffic calming features that includes wider medians and narrowing lanes of traffic coming upon the roundabout, and it will be lit up at night.
Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Human Resources Dr. Steven Gabriel has been involved in the bond project since the beginning and has helped outline the plan from the approval of the bond.
“It may not be everyone’s favorite thing [the roundabout], especially when you’re considering the exit and entrance of a school,” said Gabriel. “I think safety should be a priority.”
The construction is expected to begin in late spring to early summer so that it is ready for the beginning of the school year in the fall.