The Town of Comox is taking a second look at a roundabout on Comox Avenue.
In late 2014, the town first retained Watt Consulting Group and Koer & Associates Engineering to look at four different roundabout options at the intersection of Rodello Street and Comox Avenue. Currently, the intersection is offset with a pedestrian crosswalk, explained Nadine King, a senior transportation engineer with Watt Consulting.
During a presentation to council at the June 9 meeting, she explained the intersection sees an average of 2.5 collisions per year throughout the last 10 years, most of which are rear-end collisions.
“It’s hard to get off Rodello onto Comox Ave., and we’ve looked at multiple options to restrict movement. Basically, the roundabout was the best option for all movement for all user groups. It could accommodate heavy traffic and buses and would provide good traffic operations.”
The biggest impact of adding a roundabout to the intersection she said would be acquiring property, primarily on the site of the former St. Joseph’s Hospital parking lot.
In terms of the goals of creating a roundabout, King noted the primary goal is to make it safe for all users. Roundabouts help reduce speed to 30 km/hr and eliminate conflict points.
“(They) help reduce the impact on the environment as they don’t stop traffic and help reduce idling. (They also help) to eliminate T-bone collisions … and have a 90 per cent reduction in fatal collisions, and a 37 per cent reduction in overall collisions.”
The design for the roundabout was at about a 95 per cent level prior to the town putting the project on hold about six years ago, so King noted the next steps would be to finalize the drawing in order to make the project tender-ready.
In terms of construction, King said there are three options: to build a bypass (which would require land but be least disruptive to traffic and provide the quickest construction timeframe); to have the roundabout built in stages (which would be costly as it would take longer to build and reduce traffic to single lane alternating) or create a full street closure to traffic.
In 2015, the estimate to build the project was around $1.2 million; King said she is currently preparing an updated estimate but added it can be difficult as the market can fluctuate due to the pandemic, with a lack of materials and people.
Funding opportunities are available in addition to transportation development cost charges the town has collected to put towards the project.