The NCDOT tapped SEPI to expedite the Oakdale Double Roundabout project with the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. SEPI will design upgrades for two existing offsetting intersections to single lane roundabouts for improved safety and mobility.
The purpose of the project is to improve safety and traffic operations. The existing roads are two-lane with steep and/or narrow shoulders/ditches. The unconventional intersections operate like a single five-leg intersection, where three legs are stop-controlled (Miranda Road, Sunset Road, and Lawing Road) and the other two legs (both Oakdale Road) generally run north-south and operate as free-flowing.
The atypical two- and five-leg intersections with skewed approaches currently create queuing and safety issues, including driver confusion and right-of-way conflicts that have resulted in 76 crashes over the last five years, including one fatality, making it one of the most dangerous intersections in the Charlotte region.
The intersections also exhibit frequent congestion during daily peak hours with Overall Level of Service (LOS) C during mornings and LOS F during evenings. There is also a notable number of pedestrians navigating the area, even though the narrow and steep shoulders currently provide no place to walk safely outside of the travel lanes.
The double roundabouts proposed by SEPI will substantially improve vehicular and pedestrian safety as well as reduce congestion during peak hours and improve traffic operations to acceptable levels (LOS A-C).
Not only are roundabouts safer than traditional intersections (eight versus 32 vehicle conflict points and eight versus 24 pedestrian conflict points), the roundabouts will reduce speeds from 45 to 30 MPH, further improving safety. The proposed design also includes several pedestrian elements including one sidewalk, widened shoulders elsewhere to facilitate future sidewalks, and berms, curb ramps, and crosswalks through the roundabouts themselves.
After evaluating the human and environmental resources in the area, the multi-disciplinary SEPI team modified the placement and design of the roundabouts to allow 62-ft long tractor trailers and facilitate high traffic volumes efficiently through a dedicated right-turn lane, while also minimizing impacts to a stream and wetlands, accommodating property access and future planned land uses, and minimizing property impacts which include an adjacent US Post Office.
Although the project will require the relocation of one business and extension or relocation of driveways to other surrounding businesses and residences, benefits from the proposed project include substantial safety improvements such as reduced driver confusion, decreased crash rates, reduced severity of crashes that do occur, and ability for pedestrians to navigate through the area safely.
SEPI led a public involvement session on April 29, 2019 that was attended by nearly 75 people. We understand that public involvement and community outreach are integral components of assessing the potential impacts of a project on the local community.
SEPI offers a broad range of experience with a variety of public involvement and community outreach efforts including interactive workshops, facilitated presentations, charrettes, print and web collateral, and meeting material design/production, newsletters writing/design, and LEP services; including bilingual newsletters, door-to-door outreach, and live translation at public meetings.