Motorists get first hint of roundabout patterns starting this Friday

Motorists get first hint of roundabout patterns starting this Friday

The new traffic pattern going into effect Friday on Diamond Hill Road. The arrows are shown on the side of the highway closest to Dave’s Market.

CUMBERLAND – A new traffic pattern set to go into effect this Friday, Sept. 13, at the Diamond Hill roundabout project will give motorists their first real taste of the future configuration.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation on Tuesday announced a traffic pattern change as part of a $11.3 million intersection safety improvement project on Diamond Hill Road/Route 114 in Cumberland. One element of the project includes roundabouts at the Route 114 interchange with I-295, and the initial phase of transitioning traffic to the new traffic circles begins Friday morning.

The change for Friday will impact the intersection of Diamond Hill Road and the I-295 North on- and off-ramps, on the Dave’s Market side of the highway, only. All traffic will flow to the right, as it does in all roundabouts. This means traffic bound for points north (toward Broadview Avenue and Industrial Road) should use the inner or left lane and drive around the roundabout. Traffic coming off the highway and bound for the Chapel Four Corners area can use the right lane at the end of the exit.

When this change is made, the current gravel surface will be paved.

RIDOT and its contractor last week fixed at least one of the issues Mayor Jeff Mutter had complained about related to the rough surface along the road. New asphalt was placed in a narrow strip to smooth out the big bump heading from Diamond Hill Road onto I-295 south. Mutter last week called for improvement from RIDOT in keeping the area as smooth as possible, citing impacts on drivers and business owners.

RIDOT intends to duplicate Friday's initial roundabout traffic pattern at the I-295 South on- and off-ramp intersection in early October. Construction will continue on the roundabout part of this project through the end of this year, finishing next spring. The realignment of the Chapel Four Corners intersection and other improvements, also part of this project, will be ongoing next spring and summer. The entire project is on time and on budget, according to RIDOT, and final completion of all components is set for next fall.

Work to widen the roadway and add new sidewalks is ongoing. The wider surface will allow for the addition of a second lane heading from 295 to Chapel Four Corners. By realigning the intersection, RIDOT representatives say they can eliminate one phase in the traffic light system at the oddly configured intersection and keep traffic flowing more smoothly. Drivers that typically back up onto the highway as they wait to turn left will be able to go right around the roundabout and then head left over the overpass.

The roundabouts are designed to improve traffic flow and increase safety, says RIDOT. They have proven to greatly reduce injuries and severity of crashes, though the number of accidents typically goes up in the months immediately after a roundabout is installed.

Visit www.ridot.net/roundabouts to learn more about roundabouts.

RIDOT emphasizes that all construction projects are subject to changes in schedule and scope depending on needs, circumstances, findings, and weather.

Comments

While I do hope that the addition of the roundabouts will help with the traffic backup that's experienced during rush hour times, I just don't have high hopes that anyone will see the difference. The problem has always been the volume of traffic far surpasses the capacity of the roads and the traffic light at Chapel Four Corners.

The roundabouts address neither of these two problems, RI DOT says they eventually plan to make slight changes to the light at Chapel Four Corners (just a longer left turn lane to head down Bear Hill Rd), the light will still be there backing up traffic. A bottleneck is a bottleneck regardless of what you call it.

How many people heading South on Diamond Hill are going to block/stop in the roundabout preventing traffic from heading North or South. Throw in a couple of 18-wheelers trying to navigate the roundabout and the state's spent $11.3 million to fix nothing. Which honestly sounds about right for the State of Rhode Island.

Round - a - bouts are a joke ! Waste of money and they DO NOT work in a heavy traffic area . They are great way out in the country where there is NO traffic ! The one in Chepatchet is a JOKE . No one knows how to use them and one can sit there for 5-9 minutes to get through there !

Not defending this project but saying they don’t work in heavy traffic areas is inaccurate. That is the exact reason why they were designed in the first place. I have actually lived in other places besides this town, one location being the Metro DC area. I would routinely drive throughout the District, there were numerous traffic circles in all areas of DC. Rush hour is rush hour no matter where you are, but traffic always moved better in areas with traffic circles. It’s something new and misunderstood; that is why people hate it. Give it a chance.