ODOT confirms conventional roundabout for Shawnee Township intersection

LIMA — The Ohio Department of Transportation has selected a conventional, single-lane roundabout that will be built in 2026 just south of the existing intersection of state Route 117 and state Route 501 (Wapak Road) by Good Ground World Ministries church in Shawnee Township.

The estimated cost of the project is $2,810,000 and construction will begin in the summer of 2026 and end by the fall of 2026. Ohio’s Highway Safety Improvement Program provided funding for the project.

This announcement comes after ODOT held a public meeting to discuss four potential layouts for the intersection on April 23. The other three potential layouts were an oblong unconventional roundabout; a conventional roundabout centered at the existing intersection; and an avocado unconventional roundabout. After this meeting, the public had the opportunity to comment for 30 days.

ODOT’s draft of the public engagement plan for the project explained why a roundabout is needed.

“A 2022 Safety Study by Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. revealed a rise in serious injuries, fatalities, and angle crashes after the 2016 intersection realignment. Crash severity escalated despite an overall decrease in crashes from 2018-2020 compared to 2013-2015,” the plan read. “The shift in severity appears to be associated with a shift in the types of crashes experienced before and after the intersection realignment. The number of angle crashes doubled, with the increase consisting of all levels of injury crashes as well as one fatal crash. The types of angle crashes experienced shifted from near-side collisions (colliding with through vehicles from the left of the driver) to far-side collisions (colliding with through vehicles from the right of the driver).”

A roundabout will slow traffic down and eliminate the angled crashes the intersection is experiencing currently, an ODOT presenter said at the public open house.

The presenter also said a roundabout wasn’t proposed in 2016 because “it would have been the first rural roundabout installed on a 55 mph roadway. Apprehension, lack of support, and a lack of data supporting a rural, high-speed roundabout swayed the decision to a more traditional project such as realignment and the addition of turn lanes.” The presenter said the realignment and widening from 2016 helped lower the cost of the roundabout project.

The presentation gave the crash statistics of two other rural roundabouts in Allen County — one of which is at state Route 309 and Thayer Road — to show that roundabouts work. Between 2019 and May 2022, there were 29 crashes with one fatal crash and 16 injury crashes at state Route 309 and Thayer Road. After the roundabout was put in, there were four crashes, one with minor injuries and three with property damage only.

For more information about the state Route 117 and state Route 501 roundabout, visit https://www.transportation.ohio.gov/projects/projects/117792.

This is the second roundabout to be announced in Shawnee Township recently. The other one will be located at the intersection of Fort Amanda Road and Buckeye Road near the Lima Cenovus Refinery and will be completed in 2027 or 2028.