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Posted on Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Roundabout construction starts Monday at State and Ellsworth intersection

By Amy Biolchini


The intersection at State and Ellsworth roads in Pittsfield Township will be converted to a roundabout in a four-month long construction project that begins Monday.

Amy Biolchini |

Say goodbye to the stoplight at the intersection of State and Ellsworth roads in Pittsfield Township.

Crews working for the Washtenaw County Road Commission will begin a four-month-long, $2.4 million construction project Monday to convert the stoplight-controlled intersection into a two-lane roundabout.

Officials initiated the project as a way to better manage traffic flow along the busy State Street corridor - an issue they projected would worsen with the 2012 opening of the Costco store on Ellsworth Road just west of State Street.

Road closures won’t begin right away while the preliminary site work is conducted for the first one to two weeks.

The Road Commission anticipates the first road closures will begin in mid-June. One lane of traffic in each direction on State Street will remain open throughout the project, though sections of Ellsworth Road will be completely blocked to drivers.

Drivers are advised to avoid the construction zone, as delays are anticipated.

The western section of Ellsworth Road will be the first road closure, which will begin in mid-June and last for about a month.

Detours will be posted directing drivers along Airport Boulevard.

In mid-August, the eastern section of Ellsworth Road will be closed until the end of the month. The posted detour will be along Research Park Drive.

Though the Ellsworth Road closures are expected to end in the beginning of September, the project won’t be completed until mid to late September.

Mandy Grewal, Pittsfield Township supervisor, said the township is pursuing ways to help senior drivers learn how to safely use the new roundabout.

Grewal said the township is planning on public forums and will be looking to partner with driver’s education schools to provide guided training sessions.

“It’s our responsibility to do the best we can to try to alleviate the concerns,” Grewal said. “We’re doing our best to really engage with them and make sure they’re as comfortable as possible.”

The project is being funded through a conglomerate of sources, the bulk of which will be paid for by two federal grants. Costco is contributing $500,000 to the project, while the remainder will be split between the city of Ann Arbor and the Road Commission.

A separate $42,000 part of the project -- which involves stamping concrete on portions of the roundabout to make it more visually appealing -- will be split between the city of Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township.

View Washtenaw County Road Commission work in a larger map

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.


Becky Hansen

Sun, Jun 16, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

I use the Concordia one several times a day, and what disturbs me is the number of people who disregard rules. I have had to brake suddenly for people just before I am out of the roundabout because they want to take a chance on beating me by entering and cutting me off. It clearly reads that the roundabout should be negotiated at 20 mph; they do not have any intention of doing that when they plunge into it hoping to beat the people well into it. I can step on my brakes for these obnoxious idiots because I travel in non peak hours, but isn't the Ellsworth/State intersection heavily traveled? These morons (I hope they have lots of hospital and car insurance) will not be helped by instructional videos, but how about publishing one for those who simply are not familiar with the rules?

Catherine Bosma

Thu, Jun 6, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

Well, whomever stated there would be no closures during the first couple of weeks LIED! One lane down on State already. Not looking forward to the rest of the summer dealing with this mess. I hope these planners know what they are doing. How on earth will this be large enough to handle semi trucks?

Amy Biolchini

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 7:51 p.m.

For those still tracking this discussion in the comment thread, I've posted a new story today on the traffic counts at State and Ellsworth for the past 10 years or so. The link should now be at the top of this article. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Scott Batson

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 6:16 p.m.

The FHWA has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate ( ). Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Visit for FAQs and safety facts. The safety comes from the 'slow and go' operation instead of the 'stop or go fast' way a stop light works. The smaller size of the modern roundabout is what makes them safer and keeps speeds in the 20 mph range. This makes it much easier to avoid a crash or stop for pedestrians. It also means that if a crash happens the likelihood of injury is very low. Safety is the #1 reason there are over 3,000 modern roundabouts in the US today and many more on the way. Slow and go modern roundabout intersections means less delay than a stop light or stop sign, especially the other 20 hours a day people aren't driving to or from work. Average daily delay at a signal is around 12 seconds per car. At a modern roundabout average delay is less than five seconds. Signals take an hour of demand and restrict it to a half hour, at best only half the traffic gets to go at any one time. At a modern roundabout four drivers entering from four directions can all enter at the same time. Don't try that with a signalized intersection.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

The number of fender benders is going to be greatly increased. After traveling this intersection for several years, I have not seen an accident on it (yes, I know they occur). Have you seen the cost of repairing side panels and bumpers lately? It is going to drive the insanely high insurance rates of this region even higher. So yes, you may avoid a lethal crash, but you are going to increase the costs overall.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 5:59 p.m.

I had asked this question last week in a prior article about the fire station on the corner of Ellsworth and State Street (it is not south of Ellsworth it is on the corner). How to avoid emergency vehicles in round abouts, this includes ambulance, police vehicles. Basically it is get out of the way, clear the round about. Most drivers don't properly move over when they hear or see an emergency vehicle on straight roads. Now a driver is expected to look around in a cirlce to see where the emergency vehicle is coming from kinda like the exorcist would look around. I've been in the left turn lane and have seen drivers hit the gas to beat the emergency vehicle so I don't expect them to get out of the way. The person in the circle may be getting out of the way but what about the driver(s) entering the circle who may not have heard the sirens or seen the emergency vehicle. This is where I see round abouts in busy intersections being a problem. Good luck, drive safe and get your neck greased


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

I go thru that intersection 4 times a day 5 days a week, I believe the amount of traffic there will in fact be too much for it. Does anyone know how these things are rated? There must be a size vs. volume ratio/

Scott Batson

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 6:15 p.m.

Single-lane modern roundabouts (90-120 feet in diameter) can handle intersections that serve about 20,000 vehicles per day. Two-lane modern roundabouts (150-220 feet in diameter) can serve about 50,000 vehicles per day. Right-turn slip lanes can increase that number if needed (just like for signal intersections).


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

I hate these things, that's all. Luckily I won't have to go through that one very often. They're like a giant circle free for all.


Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 7:47 p.m.

I didn't say I don't know how to use them, I just hate them. I'd much rather just wait my turn at a stop sign or a traffic light. What I don't understand is why there's an inner and outer circle. I don't see a point at which you'd ever want to be in the inner circle. If you're exiting at some point and there's someone next to you, you hit them or have to go around again.

music to my ear

Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

get some reflectors for your bumpers for at nite, they really do help.

Tom Todd

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

you Yield to the cars already in the roundabout & no stopping.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

It took me 30 seconds to find this link, which addresses many of the concerns mentioned on this page. There was a public hearing, how many of those opposed to this project showed up and asked questions? How many of you read the studies and were able to provide new or better information based on your experience and your own traffic studies and knowledge? People are complaining about $42,000 out of a $2,400,000 project? Would you be happier if it was made in a Stalinist theme, with no amount of aesthetic appeal? Would that make you think of A2 as less Communist? I like roundabouts. Time will tell if this high traffic area is an appropriate place for one, but for so many to come out against it with almost no evidence that it will be worse is just fear of change. I too would like to see this page revisited in 6 months. I will prepare a sauce to go with my crow, if need be. How would you like yours done?


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

I'd like to see the specific data on accidents and traffic flow that led to this decision. "Anticipating" more traffic due to Costco is not a reason to build a roundabout and disrupt traffic for months. Let's see the data. I read earlier in AA dot com that one person in the road department "likes" roundabouts, but that is hardly a reason to build one. The current roundabouts in AA are too small and cars do not yield to traffic inside the roundabout as they approach. They zoom through without looking in any direction. Let's see the data on what led to this decision, and if one person pushed it through.

Basic Bob

Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 2:19 a.m.

The Costco traffic impact study performed by Midwestern Consulting did not consider a roundabout design. It recommended re-timing the lights and adding turn lanes. The "one person" responsible for this decision is the Pittsfield board of trustees with unanimous approval. After all, they (we) are footing the bill.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

@JRW: Modern roundabouts (as opposed to traditional roundabouts or traffic circles) have a small radius by design, and that it to lower the speed of traffic in the roundabout to make everyone safer. Why don't you link to your source that this is all the result of "one person" who "likes roundabouts"? I went through a a few Ann Arbor roundabouts this weekend and drivers handled them well. If there are some drivers acting as you claim then we need better enforcement and more tickets. It is likely that most drivers are likely pleased with Ann Arbor's existing roundabouts, even if they were against them initially. That's been the pattern throughout the country. Hundreds of modern roundabouts are being built in the US each year (source:


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

Why is it on my mobile tablet, I am no longer given the option to vote?

Kyle Mattson

Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

Sorry thinker, nothing has changed that could be causing that issue for you. I'll shoot you an email if we stumble upon some explanation for it.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

I predict a disaster also.

music to my ear

Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

bob you so funny

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

zombie outbreak


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

Earthquake? Asteroid strike? Another Bush in the White House??


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

It will be a pain at first but when it's said and done it will be worth it. Roundabouts are fine if one knows how to navigate them. Just look at the ones on Geddes Road by US-23.

music to my ear

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

after a while yes the locals will get it, I am worried about the non locals.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

Yes, let's look at those roundabouts at 23. Cars sit for a long time trying to exit 23. I'd like to see data on accidents at that intersection before and after the roundabout construction, along with how many trucks have had close calls or tipped over.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

If the people in Livingston County can do it I'm sure you people will be fine. Well, they can *kind* of do it.

Terry Reilly

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

I forgot to add that I would love to see a roundabout at the intersection of Bemis and Moon road, just south of Michigan Ave. You better not be in a hurry if you are trying to ge through that area from any direction between 4 and 6 P.M. It is a 4 way stop and ill suited to traffic volumes at that time of day. I agree that roundabouts near Concordia University work quite nicely.

Terry Reilly

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

Good luck! I am amazed that the opening of Costco seems (to me) to have had a negligible effect on traffic flow/volume in the area. The convoluted traffic light just north of Ellsworth on State that facilitates the annoying left turn onto north bound State is more problematic than the intersection itself. As far as "seniors" and roundabouts go, it's a generational thing and all I can say is keep your eyes open. Most people will get the idea after a few missed turns, no big deal for regular drivers in the area. Similar predictions of vehicular doom and gloom failed to materialize at State and Michigan Ave with the Walmart opening.

Ann English

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 1:28 a.m.

Opening a Costco so near the State and Ellsworth intersection did result in the Speedway station there to get more competitive with gas prices; their gas prices fell to compete with Costco's.


Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

I think the only thing Costco has effected is weekend traffic in the area.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 11:33 a.m.

I'm with whoever said that six-eight months from now this is going to be a non-issue. Roundabouts have been a big improvement on the stretch of Geddes between Concordia and Dixboro Road. It should be an improvement here, too. In fact, I'd say that they should also put on at State and Airport and probably one at Ellsworth and Research Drive.

music to my ear

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 11:12 a.m.

can install a camera around the roundabout,because there is going to be kay ous sorry cant get spellck to pick it up.I am not going to be using that stretch or intersection oh mamma mia.

music to my ear

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

thanks bob I really did have a moment of forgetfulness

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 12:56 p.m.



Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 11:03 a.m.

My theory as to why Americans are often averse to roundabouts is: it deprives them of a stoplight with which to punish, which is the favorite activity of our culture. At roundabouts, drivers just go about their business rather than "Bam! Red Light! Stop!! You sit there. And wait and wait and wait and wait". It kind of takes the fun away from those wishing to be everyone's boss.

Jon Saalberg

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 10:49 a.m.

There are lots of videos on YouTube for the many, many Michigan drivers who as yet, still do not understand how roundabouts work. There are three basic rules of roundabouts, none of which seem understood - NO passing, NO lane changing, and the big one, NO, NO stopping in a roundabout. Even with the above occurring in roundabouts, roundabouts are still better and more efficient than lit intersections - clearly supported by numerous traffic studies.

Ann English

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 1:22 a.m.

The first video I ever saw online was how roundabouts work in Arizona. That video showed how U-turns can be done using roundabouts, but I believe people should only use them for that purpose if the roundabout is NOT at a four-way intersection, such as the one in front of Skyline High School. Later, I read an article about a roundabout built near an elementary school in Montpelier, Vermont. There was a photograph of the roundabout there, and the article told about its installation improving the students' safety in walking to school. Safer for young pedestrians since it slowed traffic down and provided an island for the walkers to wait at for any traffic to clear.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 10:43 a.m.

Hey Amy! Just for grins, how about taking a snapshot of the Comments and then doing an update in six months using those comments as indicators of success/failure? ;)

Amy Biolchini

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 6:01 p.m.

It'll be interesting to see if public opinion changes at all. I actually saw someone comment on a different story, suggesting a roundabout be added to an intersection near Ann Arbor.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 10:26 a.m.

Just another social joke at the taxpayers expense...the stupidity like Oz's dome just continues to grow...


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 10:22 a.m.

The Pittsfield Senior Center is a very busy place. I am wondering how this construction will make access to the center. Some contractors have taken up the parking spaces at the center.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 4:09 p.m.

@Amy, thank you. That is going to make that corner a tight 2 lane round-about then.

Amy Biolchini

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

a2migrl, the roundabout will be constructed without the removal of any of the businesses at the intersection, according to the Washtenaw County Road Commission.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

@JRW - I had heard (in the past) that the oil change place and the flower shop were coming down to support this. I don't know if true or not.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

Contractors don't care about the Senior Center parking lot. Access to this facility will be negatively impacted during the construction and certainly after. Seniors are least able to negotiate these mini roundabouts around the city. Unless they tear down the Speedway gas station to make the roundabout larger, it's going to be a disaster.

Cindy Blaine

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 3:31 a.m.

They need to re- instruct most drivers on how a roundabout is to be used no many Michigan drivers have got a handle on these, They stop rather than yield and stop in the middle of them , some ride your bumper so there is no easement for others to enter ...... and I see it as a BIG problem at the Crazy intersection . Just everyone BE Careful when its done :)


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 3:21 a.m.

Actually it's a WCRC project and they don't care if people want it. It's simply more "make work" to make the bureaucracy grow.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

The roundabout is being built because township officials living behind Harvest Elementary hate shopping at Walmart and waiting at traffic lights going to Costco. They are also planning to widen State Road to a four lane boulevard and installing three more roundabouts. While these are busy intersections, they are relatively safe. And they can get businesses to pay for these improvements through development agreements and TIFs. While not strictly necessary, the city of Ann Arbor will insist on the airport runway expansion when the road is widened.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

That intersection wasn't even close to the top of the list of most dangerous intersections that they put out recently. If they really cared about safety, they would start at the top of that list and work down installing roundabouts.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

So you are against it because you dislike proven safety improvements?


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:37 a.m.

I predict a disaster.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

What's your record for precognition?

Dog Guy

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:35 a.m.

Immediately southwest of State and Ellsworth the map shows where 6/24 crosses 12/30 and there is just as much need for a roundabout.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 10:40 a.m.



Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 2:37 a.m.


Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 2:01 a.m.

That would require an extra 850 feet of length on the 6/24.


Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 10:37 p.m.

Turning left onto Ellsworth from Research Park Drive is a hail mary turn now. With the roundabout in place, it will be impossible. (And I *like* roundabouts.)

Ann English

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 1:11 a.m.

I don't think it was heroic or even hard before they started breaking up State Street, closing the right southbound lane today, to turn left onto Ellsworth from Research Park Drive. Once there was an accident on Ellsworth in front of Zippy's Car Wash, and the police wouldn't let me turn right from Research Park Drive onto Ellsworth because of the accident in that direction; of course, in such a situation, regardless of the time of day, it wouldn't be near-impossible to turn left onto Ellsworth. I think you're referring to Ellsworth during rush hour.


Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 10:27 p.m.

I really wish this roundabout has better signage than the other ones around town. Just a simple "Ellsworth East, State North: Left Lane, State Street South: Right Lane" would really help over the cryptic graphics used elsewhere.

Ann English

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 : 1:02 a.m.

I didn't learn to use the roundabouts in town by reading signs; I watched online videos and read online articles about how to use them. If you're going through the intersection, stay in the INNER lane; if you're turning left, stay in the inner lane; the outer lane is for turning right. What you're proposing is for signs to be read by drivers on eastbound Ellsworth approaching State Street. I wonder how many motorists using this intersection know which direction is east, north, west, south in a split second, so they'd understand such a sign. "Ellsworth East" would mean "Through"; "State North" would mean "Left Turn". Or is it only when giving others directions, that it isn't enough just to tell them, "Turn north," from an east-west road, regardless of which direction they were traveling?

Thinking over here

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

And signs along the approach to the roundabout that say, 1)SHARE, 2)TAKE TURNS. 3)Allow Merging. It seems the mentality of a roundabout is "I have the rightaway" when really it's a big MERGE game and everyone needs to TAKE TURNS. If these 3 signs were posted 1/2 mile or so before the roundabouts, it would put people in the right frame of mind. Or least have a shot at getting them in the right frame of mind :):)


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

@foobar417, In my opinion if they want to drive in America the drivers license test should be in English no other language.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 11:24 a.m.

Not all drivers speak English.


Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 10:18 p.m.

Is the $42,000 being spent on stamping the concrete considered art?


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 10 p.m.

It's unfortunate you couldn't pick up the sarcasm in my question.

John Q

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

The city contributing to a county road commission project doesn't make it a "city project". The road commission doesn't have the art requirements that the city does.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

Your're welcome.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 11:54 a.m.

John Q - "Costco is contributing $500,000 to the project, while the remainder will be split between the city of Ann Arbor and the Road Commission." Actually, if you reread the article you will note that the City of Ann Arbor is paying for part of the construction. I've made it easy for you, I've cut and paste the sentence that references Ann Arbor.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:59 a.m.

The city is helping to pay for the project. Art is required.

John Q

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:08 a.m.

Is the project a city project? No. What's your point?

Marie Willnow

Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

I travel both State and Ellsworth frequently and I haven't noticed a huge increase in traffic back ups since Costco opened. I don't understand why the city feels the roundabout is necessary.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

I have been traveling this intersection multiple times a day for 20+ years (before there were left turn lights). Traffic is bad here but no significant increase with Costco opening. When the highway has accidents or construction people get off and use the city streets (Eisenhower and Ellsworth) which makes things go from bad to worse. Ellsworth backs up from State to Platt, the road is not wide enough. It is my understanding that this section of road has too many businesses and houses too close to the road to be able to widen it.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:53 p.m.

@JRW: Who is this "one person"? Or are you making that up?


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

There is one person working somewhere in the road department who is "big" on roundabouts and pushes these through, whether they are a good idea or not. Unfortunately, they aren't always a good idea and in AA, they are too small. I drive the State and Ellsworth intersection every day, sometimes at rush hour, and the back-ups are not that bad. They could be improved with better timed lights, a much lower cost solution. What is the accident data on this intersection?

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:58 a.m.

Also greener because cars aren't forced to idle far less often.

Charles Curtis

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 12:01 a.m.

I suppose its greener too, no lights or light controls to maintain and use power.

Charles Curtis

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : midnight

Roundabouts are safer since most accidents are side swipes and not teebones or headons. I think its more about safety than traffic flow. If traffic flow were important, the lights would have better timing all around town and create drive patterns that would reduce the stops during high volume times. Many city's time lights to reduce stops at rush hours, allowing downtown areas to get more quickly to highways. AA has no such timing, since the higher the traffic volume the more you have to stop at lights. Some lights only let 3-5 cars thru when there is a line of 15+ cars.


Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 10:24 p.m.

Actually it's in Pittsfield twp not the city

An Arborigine

Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 9:40 p.m.

This is a three-month cluster that will only get worse once this high-traffic roundabout is open to the general public. I work in that area and I have not noticed any increase in traffic due to Costco opening a year ago.


Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 9 p.m.

Let's how much complaining there will be once these road closures start.

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 9:54 p.m.

Let's see how much complaining there will be even before the road closures start.


Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 9:01 p.m.

Let's see how much complaining there will be once these road closures start.

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

Those round-abouts are really going to wind drivers up.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 10:26 a.m.

Roundabouts go counter clockwise, so "unwind" would be the proper term...


Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 10:12 p.m.

Now... but it will be a built-in excuse for hitting pedestrians.


Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 8:01 p.m.

Well, I predict that after this roundabout is completed, the mega semi trucks that cruise through that intersection throughout the day and night will not be happy, to say the least. They will have difficulty going through the roundabout, as these are built with far too small a radius in AA, really more like miniature roundabouts that are only good for small cars. The large semi trucks risk tipping over or will be driving over the elevated center portions, which I have seen numerous times in other roundabouts in the city. Perhaps the roundabout will improve traffic flow, but that is yet to be seen. The large 16 wheeler semi trucks coming off of 94 on State St may have to find alternate routes, which is not good news for surrounding streets. Was there any increase in traffic from the Costco opening in 2012? It's been a year and they should have tallied those numbers by now. Can AA dot com follow up?


Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 11:48 p.m.

@ JRW: I thought semi trucks had 18 wheels? I guess I can't count after all... :(

Scott Batson

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 6:11 p.m.

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.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

@JRW: Modern roundabouts (as opposed to traditional roundabouts or traffic circles) have a small radius by design, and that it to lower the speed of traffic in the roundabout to make everyone safer. Although I'm not familiar with the design of the roundabout at State & Ellsworth, they are often designed so trucks can use a bit of the island in the center to negotiate the roundabout. You don't think they've designed it to handle the trucks that would go through? If a truck tips over it will most definitely be the result of driver error, not of modern roundabout design.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

Not just the semi trucks, the out-bound city busses also go thru that intersection as well. The Pittsfield fire station is also located very near that intersection. The round-about coming to a halt for them will be interesting. Also, is there going to be pedestrian cross walk put in at Research Park Dr? Some of the kids from the school and social security offices catch the out-bound bus and have to cross Ellsworth.

Lake Trout

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

Very short sighted and waste of money project. This roundabout is not going to be anywhere near large enough to handle truck traffic or game traffic. Everyone who knows the area will be avoiding it at all cost and let the games begin for anyone who gets forced in to negotiating it. Yes, crashes are at much slower speeds, but the numbers of fender benders is going to triple easily. Too bad for any businesses in that area as I'm pretty sure they are going to see a dramtic decrease in business, not only during construction, but afterward as well as people avoid the area and find other ways to travel the east/west cooridor - lilke Washtenaw....ugh.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

Have you looked at the sketches? It looks like a very big roundabout.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:56 a.m.

I'll take that bet.

Charles Curtis

Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 11:54 p.m.

The truck traffic will have to use the roundabout, its the defined traffic pattern going to industrial parks that surround the area. If they do not make it wide enough, then I guess we will have wasted money tax money.


Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

It's not a roundabout. It's a Chicane! lol

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:55 a.m.

It's not the Grand Prix. Slow down and you won't feel like you're about to tip over.


Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 7:06 p.m.

Its not just senior drivers who need to learn how to use roundabouts. All drivers who are not use to them should have a refresher in their use.

Scott Batson

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 6:09 p.m.

Here's a quote: "By 2025, a quarter of all drivers in the United States will be over the age of 65. Intersections are the single most dangerous traffic environment for drivers of any age with left-hand turns being the single most dangerous traffic maneuver that any of us can make. Forty percent of all crashes that involve drivers over the age of 65 occur at intersections. This is nearly twice the rate of experienced younger drivers. AARP would like to see more roundabouts constructed because of the many safety benefits that they present for drivers of all ages." - Jana Lynott, AARP Public Policy Institute


Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

I wonder if there are any plans to erect a temporary traffic light at Ellsworth and Research Park Drive. Without that, left turns onto Ellsworth could be very difficult in the event that eastbound Ellsworth traffic will be blocked across State Street.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

If every car on westbound Ellsworth must turn right onto northbound Research Park, and every car on southbound Research Park must turn left onto eastbound Ellsworth, there is no cross's almost like a bend in the road.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 10:56 a.m.

Of course, they'll make it cycle 24/7 and hold traffic for no one at all two minutes at a time. Hmmm, not sure that's an idea to present to them.


Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

Finally the improvement to the intersection begins. This will be cursed and blamed for lots of traffic issues but in the end it will be a definite improvement. Much ado about nothing 6-8 months from now!


Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

@djacks24, then you must learn more about roundabouts - the safety aspects of them cannot be ignored.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

I wouldn't call putting in a roundabout and improvement..


Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 6:26 p.m.

" issue they projected would worsen with the 2012 opening of the Costco store on Ellsworth Road just west of State Street. " So, DID it worsen? Can anyone who regularly travels this stretch opine on how much worse it got because of Costco? "...$42,000 part of the project -- which involves stamping concrete on portions of the roundabout to make it more visually appealing" Does this mean, like, having decorative impressions in the concrete? So that costs $42,000? I think that's about how much Motawi tile would cost. Did that get bid on or anything? Sometimes I wonder how much more stuff costs because it's a city using (inexhaustible) tax money. Is this considered a "public art" expenditure, or a road improvement?

Anthony Clark

Tue, Jun 4, 2013 : 2:20 a.m.

I go through that intersection twice a day five days a week. Wait times are much worse than just a few years ago. Most of that seems to be the way the light operates. It used to allow opposite direction left turn traffic to go at the same time. Example: west bound Ellsworth turning left onto south bound State and east bound Ellsworth turning left onto north bound State would go at the same time. At some point in the last year or so, it changed to allow only one direction of left turn traffic at a time. This dramatically increased wait times and grid lock of the intersection.


Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 4:28 p.m.

I drive thru that intersection 4 times a day, 6 days a week. It is NOT worse! However it is still bad. I think this roundabout idea is a bad one. There are at least 50-60 cars at that intersection at any given time, this seems to me to be too much for a roundabout. Also a temporary light at Ellsworth and Research drive is a must. I'm expecting multiple accendents at State daily as people try to turn right from the center lane. I think Ellsworth should be 4 lanes wide.

Amy Biolchini

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

There is a portion of the project -- about $470,000 worth -- that the city of Ann Arbor is doing to replace a water main underneath State Street.

Thinking over here

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

Nope it didn't get worse - I travel that area every day.

Jake C

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 5:34 a.m.

People complain when the stretches of State Street around the I-94 interstate have "ugly concrete medians" and that the city doesn't spend money to make them look better. Other people complain when we spend money to make a brand-new intersection look a little more visually appealing. Guess you can't please everyone, cause someone's gonna whine about it regardless.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 : 1:53 a.m.

@John Q, From the article: "stamping concrete on portions of the roundabout to make it more visually appealing will be split between the city of Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township" The city is contributing to the project because it is partly in the city. Of course their part would require an art component.

Charles Curtis

Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 11:51 p.m.

No traffic is not much worse than it was before Cosco. I regularly travel by there and it has always been bad during the 4:00-6:30pm time and that is work traffic. Other than that traffic flows well. Extra money to make it more visually appealing is just more government waste of our tax money. If the local community wants it to be pretty, then they ought to fundraise the money for it.


Sun, Jun 2, 2013 : 10:16 p.m.

I travel that section of Ellsworth and I don't believe the traffic e is much different compared to when Costco was built.