Dangerous intersection closes for “safety enhancement” roundabout

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma County officials say construction is set to begin on an intersection that has been an area of concern in the metro.

"It’s a safety enhancement project…the main aspect for it was to enhance the safety there," said Superintendent Ron Cardwell of Oklahoma County District 3.

178th and North Meridian is a dangerous intersection. Numerous serious wrecks have occurred at the rural Oklahoma County stop already in 2018.

Starting Wednesday morning, crews will close the intersection for three weeks to install a traffic circle.

"Roundabouts slow the traffic down. It allows the driver to have one decision point as opposed to three decision points, in conjunction with reducing the severe right angle access at that intersection," said Cardwell.

After discussions with engineers and the County Commissioner, the roundabout was chosen because studies show  it improves safety but also increases capacity over a four way stop

"It creates a lot of natural gaps so that when you come up to the intersection if you do not see a vehicle crossing in front of you, you can then enter the roundabout and proceed either straight right or left," said Cardwell.

Some have worried that drivers, especially younger motorists, won't be familiar with the unconventional intersection. Cardwell says there are numerous videos online to watch.

"You look to the left if that vehicle crosses in front of you you need to wait until such a time there is no vehicle in front of you, and then you can enter the roundabout."

Weather permitting, the intersection slated to be done Dec 20th. Cardwell says to stay away from the intersection.  The stop will close about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning after the morning commute.

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