There are no easy solutions to the growing traffic problem in Bowling Green – or any city, for that matter.
Widening roads is expensive and also usually requires taking land, whether public or private, to achieve the desired results. Add the cost of relocating utilities, sewers, etc., and the price quickly escalates.
In 2014, a different way to handle traffic congestion was unveiled on U.S. 31-W By-Pass near the Western Kentucky University campus: a roundabout.
While roundabouts have been in use in Europe and other American cities for decades, the bypass design was the first one in Bowling Green on a busy road.
There was much skepticism about the project, with some observers predicting that local drivers would never get the hang of the system and it would see a torrent of crashes.
Of course, there have been accidents and a learning curve for drivers, but there is no doubt that the roundabout in that location has successfully eased the traffic backups that were once common at that intersection.
Building roundabouts does have a cost, but it is typically less than a road widening project.
On Tuesday, Bowling Green city commissioners approved a $365,679 bid from Scotty’s Contracting and Stone of Bowling Green to build three more roundabouts – at Parkside and Cove drives, Cove and North Sunrise drives and Crossings Boulevard and Chasefield Avenue. These roundabouts will be the first ones built in the city in residential areas.
City Manager Jeff Meisel said the roundabouts are slated to be completed by the end of June and funds had been previously set aside for them in the city’s roads budget.
Currently, the city is also working on construction of a roundabout at Shive Lane and Ken Bale Boulevard and a third is in the planning stages for the nearby Shive Lane-Middle Bridge Road intersection to ease the ever-growing traffic congestion in those areas.
It is likely that we will continue to see more roundabouts being built in Bowling Green.
While roundabouts do take some getting used to for drivers, we support the city’s plans to use more roundabouts to ease traffic in certain areas of the city because they have proven to be a cost-effective and safe way to move traffic through our growing city.