While drivers’ foremost concerns this week have centered on road conditions during wintry weather, the traffic engineers at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation look further into the future.
One of the projects expected to go out for bid in 2013 is a concept new to the area, a double roundabout for Route 519 at Brownlee and Thomas-Eighty Four roads.
The intersection has seen 19 crashes in a five-year period.
James Sisul, project manager at the District 12 office in Uniontown, said, “We anticipate letting it for construction toward the end of 2013. Construction would begin in spring of 2014 and finish in the fall of 2014.
“There may be others throughout the state or throughout the country, but in our particular district, we do not have any double roundabouts at this time.”
There will be no traffic lights, but when a driver enters the roundabout, he or she would face a yield sign.
The relatively level terrain lends itself to the double roundabout, and Sisul said PennDOT is in the process of securing rights of way for the project, which is estimated to cost between $3 million and $5 million.
Once construction begins, “There may be some short-term detours,” Sisul said. “At this time, we wouldn’t anticipate detouring Route 519.”
A connector road, Route 519 currently has a nearly 90-degree-angle turn, and Brownlee and Thomas-Eighty Four roads intersect in such a way that the three roughly form the shape of an X.
Route 519 carries about 12,000 vehicles per day. In addition to a path for local traffic, it serves as a Washington bypass between Interstates 70 and 79 and Route 19 north and east of the city.
A single roundabout would not provide enough capacity for the traffic, according to PennDOT District 12, which includes Washington. Greene, Fayette and Westmoreland counties.