If all goes well, construction for a new roundabout at the intersection of Indiana 38 and County Road 300 West near Pendleton Heights Middle School could begin by the middle of next year.

About 20 people attended a public INDOT meeting Wednesday night at the middle school, including elected and school officials.

“We feel very positive about this proposal and hope this proposal will be well-received by the community,” INDOT Public Involvement Manager Rickie Clark said.

Pendleton Town Manager Doug McGee said the intersection is a significant safety issue and that the town doesn’t want to leave it as is.

“I can tell you nobody in town was in favor of that,” he said.

Clark said INDOT is proposing the estimated $1.7 million roundabout due to increased traffic volume.

With yield signs instead of stop signs or a light, traffic would be moving more constantly, thus increasing capacity, according to INDOT Public Information Officer Nathan Riggs.

“The roundabout is kind of a newer design alternative,” Riggs said. “There’s a little bit of resistance because it’s uncommon.”

But once people get used to it, they’ll really see the benefits, he added.

According to statistics by the Federal Highway Administration, roundabouts have a 90 percent reduction in fatalities, a 76 percent reduction in injuries and a 35 percent reduction in all crashes.

There may be a few more accidents at first, Riggs said, because people are unaccustomed to the design.

“But by and large, roundabouts tend to be safer,” he said.

Traffic moving in one direction reduces points of impact, making fender benders more likely than significant accidents, like head-on or T-bone collisions one could see at a stoplight intersection, Riggs said.

Mark Matlock, director of support services for the South Madison Community School Corp., said buses are currently not allowed to turn onto 300 West because it’s a dangerous intersection. The roundabout would allow that to happen.

“This is going to be a huge help to us and we can’t wait to get it in,” Matlock said.

Superintendent Joe Buck said the intersection is tight and that the roundabout would allow better maneuvering for parents’ vehicles and buses.

“We think it’ll greatly add to the safety of our students and parents as they enter the school,” he said.

Comments concerning the roundabout should be submitted to INDOT no later than Feb. 27. More information about the proposed project can be found at the INDOT website.

Contact Dani Palmer: 640-4847, dani.palmer@heraldbulletin.com

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