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The City Journals

Bengal Boulevard roundabout plans move along

Nov 24, 2020 12:46PM ● By Cassie Goff

To view this animation of projected traffic during peak hours in the upcoming roundabout, visit the Cottonwood Heights City website and click to the Bengal Boulevard page. (Courtesy Cottonwood Heights)

By Cassie Goff | [email protected]

The finalized design and anticipated construction deadline for the long-awaited Bengal Boulevard roundabout project has been determined. The roundabout, which will replace two intersections along Bengal Boulevard at 2300 East and 2325 East, will be constructed during summer 2021. 

“We have been working on this for about eight years now to get the best possible roundabout for this community,” said Senior Staff Engineer Adam Ginsberg.

Multiple presentations were held detailing this project. On Oct. 3, Public Works Director Matt Shipp presented the roundabout’s design to the Cottonwood Heights City Council. On Nov. 12, the Cottonwood Heights Public Works Department held an open house for the public, presenting the design and receiving additional public comment. Both a virtual and physical open house were held. 

“We’ve gone through about four iterations of this roundabout,” Shipp said. “It’s not quite a roundabout—more like an egg-about or circle-about, if you will.”

The finalized roundabout design includes powered lights for each of the 10 crosswalks, arrows for bicyclists, dedicated bike ramps, landscaping and five entrances/exits. 

The landscaping concept for the island within the roundabout includes “a foundation of rocks with various trees and shrubs on the interior of the roundabout,” Ginsberg said. 

“The current configuration meets the goals of the project,” Ginsberg emphasized, which are to improve pedestrian safety, traffic safety, improve air quality and reduce emissions, and reduce traffic delay. 

Over the past few years planning this project, many concerns were voiced by residents. “The main concerns we heard were about pedestrian safety, traffic and bikes,” Shipp said.

There will be an entrance/exit linked to Brighton High School which will lead directly to the main parking lot for the school. Shipp and others met with the school’s Community Council to talk through concerns related to student safety and how to best facilitate the related pedestrian and vehicle student traffic. 

“High school students might be able to navigate the roundabout better than I will, because they are still learning about it,” Shipp said. 

Shipp explained how roundabouts are generally safer than four-way intersections from an engineering perspective. In four-way intersections, there are 32 points of conflict. Roundabouts reduce those conflict points to eight. In addition, roundabouts generally necessitate slower traffic speeds from 15 to 20 mph.

Roundabout accidents are generally safer, as T-bone accidents are less likely to occur. “Roundabout accidents don’t have big impacts,” Shipp said, emphasizing how most accidents within roundabout are typically brush-bys. 

Roundabouts generally lessen idling impacts as well. The Bengal Boulevard roundabout is anticipated to reduce emissions by 4.37 tons per year. 

In order to construct the roundabout, two residential homes will be demolished. As they have been identified as historic homes, a pocket park with an interpretive plaque calling attention to the two homes will be placed in their absence. 

As for larger and emergency vehicles, engineers are confident their design will be appropriate. “We have made sure the largest truck can go through without having to make circles to go where it needs to go,” Shipp said. 

“We navigate roundabouts in other areas,” said Unified Fire Authority Assistant Chief Riley Pilgrim. “Our crews will learn to navigate this one effectively, so I have no concerns.” 

“(Shipp) addressed every concern we have,” said Cottonwood Heights Police Chief Robby Russo. “We still might have to educate some residents but that’s OK.” 

The Bengal Boulevard roundabout project will cost $2.9 million—$2.5 million for construction costs funded by the Federal Transportation Improvement Program (CMAQ) and $427,000 for right-of-way acquisition funded by the Salt Lake County Corridor Preservation Fund. 

Construction on the Bengal Boulevard roundabout will begin in summer 2021, when students are out of school. The city will be requiring one lane of traffic to be open at all times along the Bengal Boulevard and 2300 East intersection during construction. 

Cottonwood Heights is still hearing public comments related to the roundabout. To submit a comment, email [email protected] or visit the project website at ch.utah.gov/city-services/public-works/Bengal-boulevard

To view full project details and watch an animation of projected traffic flow during peak time (between 2:30-3:30 p.m.) visit the Bengal Boulevard page on the Cottonwood Heights City website.