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Roundabout is the talk of road hearing

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Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 10:00 am

SANDPOINT —  Planners behind upcoming improvements at Schweitzer Cutoff Road are preparing to move forward as a public comment period draws to a close.

A handful of attendees at the Tuesday night meeting had plenty to say about the proposed traffic improvements and amenities to the stretch of Schweitzer Cutoff Road between U.S. 95 and Old Boyer Road. The majority of collected comments covered the concept’s centerpiece,  a roundabout controlling the intersection between Schweitzer Cutoff Road and Boyer Avenue.

According to J-U-B associate Jay Hassell, people were unsure of the inclusion at first, but many warmed to the idea over time.

“When all was said and done, people were pleased that the roundabout was larger than they anticipated,” he said.

Hassell said one of the most useful initiatives he and his colleagues undertook was a “roundabout rodeo” held near Super 1 on Oct. 29. Planners set up orange cones and markings to approximate the dimensions of the roundabout and curbs. Representatives of the local trucking community, Sandpoint Fire Department and the Lake Pend Oreille School District were then able to navigate it using their oversized vehicles. According to Hassell, they found maneuvering through the roundabout much easier than they anticipated.

The day also benefited from the rainy weather. Due to the large amount of mud in the testing area, J-U-B engineers were able to observe the tire tracks to get a better idea of the patterns an oversized vehicle would follow as it cleared the roundabout.

“We walked away feeling very good about the day,” Hassell said. “We knew we were on right track.”

Between the roundabout rodeo and an open house held on Oct. 4 that attracted 28 people, J-U-B engineers said they obtained plenty of opinions that affected the roundabout design. In particular, they made sure to engage the trucking community for their thoughts on the concept.

“From the beginning, the roundabout was designed with truck traffic in mind,” Hassell said.

Truckers had several points of feedback, which designers later added into their work. In particular, heavy vehicle operators wanted no trees and generally low vegetation in the center and surrounding areas of the roundabout to maintain maximum visibility. They also want curbs with shorter lengths and beveled or rounded edges to make it easier on their tires in case they connected. Finally, they wanted to curb moved in about three feet to maximize space.

Those who didn’t attend either public comment event can still weigh in on the issue. Planners will accept official commentary until Dec. 11. Call Bryant Kuechle at 800-252-8929 or email him at before that date to get your thoughts on record.   

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  • leechstomper posted at 9:48 am on Tue, Dec 4, 2012.

    leechstomper Posts: 1606

    Roundabouts are fine if they are in a logical spot and are large enough for the intended traffic. A "T" intersection where 60% of the traffic is right turning off of one leg is not a logical spot. All a roundabout is in this instance is more expensive and more land consuming.

  • leechstomper posted at 9:40 am on Tue, Dec 4, 2012.

    leechstomper Posts: 1606

    Roundabouts are fine if they are in logical spots and are large enough for the intended traffic. "T" intersections where over 60% of the traffic is right turning off of one road is not logical - only more complicated and expensive.

  • ScottRAB posted at 12:57 pm on Mon, Dec 3, 2012.

    ScottRAB Posts: 8

    Be careful not to degrade the modern roundabout design based on the fears of truckers. Modern roundabouts are designed for trucks by including the center flat area around the circle. It’s not a sidewalk, it’s called a truck apron, and it’s for trucks to begin a sharp right or end a left or U-turn on. Visit
    Or for examples.
    If you make it too easy for regular traffic to go faster than 20 mph through the roundabout, you wil have crash problems.
    Same goes for the center landscaping. If they’re looking at the other side of a modern roundabout when entering, drivers are driving unsafely. Drivers entering a modern roundabout should first look for pedestrians, then watch for other motorists coming from the left and then watch for pedestrians when exiting. The motorist on the other side of the circle won’t get to you for 5 or ten seconds.

  • Corey Greve posted at 6:10 pm on Sat, Dec 1, 2012.

    Corey Greve Posts: 974

    I've been away from here for a few days. I would be interested to hear what folks had to say about this. I wish I could have been at the public meeting to see the plan first hand.

  • leechstomper posted at 11:54 am on Fri, Nov 30, 2012.

    leechstomper Posts: 1606

    It was something like: We are opening the floor up for comments - okay we're done.

  • Luv83864 posted at 10:44 am on Fri, Nov 30, 2012.

    Luv83864 Posts: 702

    Where did all the comments go?