May 17, 2018
Mini-Roundabout Pilot Coming to Annandale
Project will test modular materials and aims to improve safety, decrease delays at Ravensworth Road/Jayhawk Street
ANNANDALE, Va. – Over the next several weeks, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will install a “modular mini roundabout” at Ravensworth Road and Jayhawk Street in Annandale, as part of a pilot project with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to test materials that may be installed easily to provide timely, cost-effective safety improvements. Crews will create the roundabout using recycled composite materials—some from recycled plastic bottles—that VDOT and FHWA will evaluate for installation, function and maintenance.
“Partnering with FHWA and the community, we are excited to test a method that can provide safety and traffic benefits to Annandale residents and drivers almost immediately,” said Helen Cuervo, P.E., VDOT’s Northern Virginia district engineer. “If the materials and design are successful, transportation departments may be able to consider similar modular roundabouts as an option where safety and congestion improvements are needed quickly,” said Dr. Wei Zhang, intersection safety research engineer with FHWA. A modular roundabout could potentially be used in applicable locations while more long-term or permanent design plans are completed.
Placing the modular roundabout is underway and, weather permitting, is expected to take about three weeks. Drivers can expect traffic shifts through the intersection, and are asked to remain alert and reduce speeds, as crews will generally work 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. “The Ravensworth and Jayhawk intersection is an ideal location for the pilot to help move traffic volumes more efficiently,” said Tom Folse, VDOT traffic engineer. “There is also plenty of room to build the roundabout in the current footprint, as well as reconfigured pedestrian crossings and a separate bike lane.”
While the footprint is smaller, mini roundabouts operate similarly to others in the region, in that drivers approaching should yield to traffic already in the circle. Roundabouts can often move more vehicles with fewer delays than a traditional intersection, as well as reduce severity of crashes. “The new modular mini roundabout is a first for Mason District and Fairfax County, and is designed to provide a safer driving, biking, and walking experience for Ravensworth Road users,” said Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross. “I am pleased that through working with the community, county staff, VDOT, and the Federal Highway Administration, we found a unique solution for a busy road, and one that may be replicated in other areas of the county.”
About 13,000 vehicles a day travel Ravensworth Road in this area, with about 2,600 a day on Jayhawk Street. About 1,400 vehicles a day move through the intersection during each rush hour.
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