The Oregon Department of Transportation has come out with a sketch of what a proposed roundabout at Cairo Junction would look like, replacing the existing modified T intersection, with the free right-turn lane for traffic coming from Ontario and turning toward Vale, which replaced the previous Y intersection.
The design is ODOT’s latest plan to make the intersection safer, which has been under discussion for more than a year. As designed, the roundabout would be located a little bit north of the existing intersection to better accommodate access from properties on the east side of the north-south stretch of the highway, according to Sean Maloney, ODOT Project Leader, who presented the design during a meeting of the Malheur County Traffic Safety Commission Thursday.
The free right turn lane for traffic coming from the north and going west will stay, but otherwise the roundabout will be a one-lane affair, with movement of traffic into the circle controlled by yield signs.
Benefits of a roundabout include slowing traffic down and having less damaging accidents since vehicles in a roundabout tend to collide at an angle rather straight-on as in a regular intersection, ODOT officials have said in earlier discussions.
Concerns about the existing intersection have included vehicles coming from the west, turning left, pulling right in front of traffic coming from the south, which has the right of way.
Meetings are planned to discuss the proposal with the public, and it must also be reviewed from the state mobility advisory committee and Oregon Trucking Association.
In addition to the public meetings, Maloney is planning a “roundabout rodeo” in which a model of a roundabout will be laid out for truck drivers and others to try out to determine what issues they may have with the design and what changes may be needed.
Maloney is looking for a location to hold the event.