Summerville Town Council on Thursday will discuss possible alterations to the town's Five Points intersection, which saw 60 crashes and 13 injuries from 2015-2017.
There are two options on the table to retrofit the intersection — Carolina Avenue, Main Street and Tupper Lane — with either a roundabout or turn lanes.
"The improvements are intended to improve safety and congestion," Summerville Public Works Director Russ Cornette, said.
A two-lane hybrid roundabout with entry and exit legs appears to be the option that would most reduce traffic in the area, according to a presentation Monday at the Summerville Public Works Committee meeting.
The intersection, in its current form, has 40 potential different ways two vehicles can get into an accident — known to transportation engineers are "traffic conflicts." Building a roundabout at a cost of $813,200 reduces the possibility to eight conflicts and therefore improves the area's safety by 500 percent, according to the presentation.
Roundabouts are credited by safety experts with reducing traffic collisions by as much as 75 percent by eliminating the need for left turns. By removing stop signs and traffic lights from the equation, the need for long-term maintenance decreases exponentially.
Once unpopular and remarkably rare, the Palmetto State now boasts 50 of the estimated 4,900 roundabouts in the United States. And residents near the Five Points intersection have been asking for a solution to the area's congestion, including a roundabout, since 2010.
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Working turn lanes into the intersection would reduce the congestion in the area but would make only minor safety improvements, impact more of the surrounding property and cost slightly more than the roundabout option at $830,000.
The Public Works Committee passed the plans to the Town Council with no recommendation, said Bonnie Miley, assistant town engineer, declining to elaborate.
Councilman Walter Bailey, whose district includes the intersection, said he is still considering all options after the Public Works meeting. Bailey said, however, the roundabout plan has proven to be the safest option.
"It would improve the safety and it would reduce the number of potentially serious accidents, along with being the cheapest option," he said. "I'm taking all of that into consideration along with comments from general public."
Council meets at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Municipal Complex Annex Building at 200 S. Main St. in Summerville.