“Together Growing as One” is the motto for the Deer Creek area.
One big step locals are taking towards growth is the addition of a roundabout on the corner of 178 and Meridian. This roundabout—a traffic circle—will be part of a $150,000 safety upgrade, including a lower speed limit and bumper strips, and will make the Deer Creek area a safer place to live and drive.
The former two-way stop on the corner of 178 and Meridian was problematic, confusing and dangerous because the eastbound traffic and westbound traffic did not have stop signs, while the northbound and southbound traffic did. The intersection saw four serious wrecks in just the past few months. Locals believed something had to be done.
“You’ve got people heading south for work and kids heading north for school. Everybody’s in a hurry,” Deer Creek resident Doug Brown said. “I think it just compounds the issues. I’ve seen two [wrecks] in the past week.”
At first, the county put up extra signs warning northbound and southbound traffic of their impending stop and the fact that eastbound and westbound traffic did not stop. However, the signs did not lessen the wrecks and an unsettled feeling came over the community as serious injuries continued occurring. Soon after, the county announced its new plans for a roundabout.
The county suggested that crashes have been more frequent because of the increase in traffic on State Highway 74. They believed that a roundabout was the safest way to remedy the issues.
“Instead of a four-way stop, we are going to build a no-way stop,” said Mr. Ray Vaughn, Oklahoma County’s District 3 Commissioner.
Federal highway safety studies have shown that traffic circles reduce collisions by 37 percent and reduce injury collisions by 75 percent, ultimately reducing fatality crashes by 90 percent.
Back in March, when Vaughn made the announcement about the roundabout plans, some strife accompanied the declaration. However, many locals saw the necessity of a change. Regardless of whether or not people think the roundabout is the “best” solution, the important thing is there is a safer intersection for all the people who travel through it daily.
Roundabouts give vehicles in the circular travel the right-of-way. Their raised entry splitter “islands” slow down and constrain vehicular speed just before entering the roundabout. This also prepares the drivers for the curvature they will experience when driving on the roundabout itself. Ultimately, roundabouts provide one of the safest transitions for drivers going through an intersection.
Officials say that the installment of the traffic circle should be completed by the end of the summer, opening just in time for school traffic to start again. Residents look forward to having a safer route for their everyday travel. Since the Deer Creek community strives to continue its growth, it is only right that safety is the first priority. With residents driving through the intersection every day—even multiple times a day—a safer environment will only benefit the community.