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Residents react to new roundabout coming to Grand Traverse County

A drawing of the proposed roundabout for the intersection of US-131 and M-186.

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- The Michigan Department of Transportation held an open house the American Legion in Fife Lake Wednesday night to discuss an upcoming project for a roundabout at US-131 and M-186.

Construction for the roundabout will begin in the spring of 2019 and is expected to be completed in the summer.

Over the past 11 years, there have been almost 80 crashes at the intersection and some of them have been fatal.

MDOT says the safest way to reduce the number of crashes is to remove the stop signs and instead install a roundabout.

Fife Lake residents like Dawn Gilbert say getting through the intersection can be a challenge, but hopes the roundabout will reduce the number of traffic deaths.

"In the morning I'm waiting for this lane to be clear and that lane to be clear, and it can be a little bit of a wait," said Gilbert, "but we don't want to lose anymore kids."

According to MDOT, a roundabout is the best option for the intersection.

"There's always concerns about a roundabout versus some other fix. But a roundabout is the best safety improvement that we can make to that intersection from strictly a state safety standpoint", said Rick Liptak, the Traverse City TSC Manager.

Sue Paiz is in favor of the round about but does have some concerns that visitors to the area won't know how to use a roundabout.

"I think people going north and south on vacation on those holiday weekends, trying to go to or from are gonna be very impatient and they might not yield to other cars. And with the east and west people it'll be tricky getting across 131," said Paiz.

MDOT says they have installed roundabout at other high crash locations Like M115 and M37 near Mesick.

They say the results there have been significant, and they would expect similar results here.

"If you look at the crashes that are out there now it is high speed and people are on 131 going 55 miles plus an hour and somebody trying to get across or making a turn or something and that's what we're trying to eliminate is the high speed crashes," said Liptak.


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