Loudoun roundabout rebuilt to cut down on crashes

Artist’s overview of the roundabout at the junction of Routes 50 and 15 in Gilbert’s Corner. (VDOT)

The Virginia Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that it has finished rebuilding the approaches to the roundabout at the junction of Routes 15 and 50 in Loudoun County.

This was a safety step undertaken when the department decided that too many crashes were occurring at the roundabout — a modern traffic circle — and that the probable cause was drivers speeding.

The $300,000 reconstruction at Gilbert’s Corner was scheduled to be done by Thanksgiving, but was completed two weeks early, Michael Gleasman, VDOT’s area construction engineer for the project, said in a statement.

The work adjust curb lines, markings and signs, and reduced all approaches to single lanes. VDOT also increased the curvature of the roadway leading into the roundabout, which should make it more difficult to speed and easier to navigate the circle.

There were 11 crashes at the intersection in 2007, the year before the roundabout was installed. In 2010, there were 36 crashes, 31 in 2011 and 30 in 2012.

The speed limit entering the roundabout is 25 mph. Even drivers who want to speed can’t go really fast entering the roundabout so the collisions tend to be less damaging than those on a straight-away. Still, VDOT said, an average of five crashes per year involve injuries.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.

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Robert Thomson · November 19, 2013