UDOT considering roundabout to make Enoch intersection safer

ENOCH — The intersection of state Route 130 (Minersville Highway) and Midvalley Road may be converted into a roundabout as early as next year, officials say.

Currently, the intersection is controlled as a two-way stop, with stop signs halting east-to-west traffic along Midvalley Road. Meanwhile, traffic along SR-130, a state highway, does not have to stop at all.

Scene of a two-vehicle collision at the intersection of Midvalley Road and state Route 130, Enoch, Utah, June 14, 2019 | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The intersection has seen its share of serious collisions over the past few years, including two recent crashes. On June 14, 61-year-old Mark Dotson died after his vehicle was struck by a southbound minivan. Then, earlier this week, two occupants of a Prius were seriously injured when their car was struck by a southbound tow truck.

Enoch City Manager Rob Dotson, who happens to be a cousin of the man who died in the June 14 crash, said the intersection has been the subject of multiple studies done by the Utah Department of Transportation over the past several years.

However, neither the traffic volume nor the pedestrian volume is high enough to warrant a traffic light at the intersection, Dotson noted, adding that it also falls far short of the five crashes per year minimum standard set by UDOT.

According to UDOT figures, there were 16 crashes at the intersection in question between Jan. 1, 2010, and the end of 2017, or an average of two per year.

The aftermath of a collision between a tow truck and Toyota Prius at the intersection of Midvalley Road and state Route 130 in Enoch, Utah, July 30, 2019 | File photo courtesy of the Utah Highway Patrol, St. George News

Of those, Dotson said, 11 were ruled to be correctable with a signal, including all three of the crashes that were classified as “severe.”

Not long after the June 14 fatal crash, UDOT upgraded the stop signs on either side of the highway, installing larger 48-inch signs that are surrounded by flashing red LED lights.

“Our traffic and safety engineers are also taking a look at how speeds are operating through there,” said Kevin Kitchen, communication manager for UDOT’s Region 4. Kitchen said they are looking into whether additional advance warning signs like “Stop Ahead” might help.

Ultimately, however, the best long-term solution appears to be a roundabout, he said.

To that end, UDOT officials appeared at the July 17 meeting of the Enoch City Council and presented various plans, after which the council passed a resolution in support of the roundabout option.

The matter will next come before the Utah Transportation Commission, which determines the priorities and funding levels of projects statewide. The commission’s next scheduled meeting is at Alta Aug. 16.

“Once the roundabout is approved through the commission, we plan to design as soon as possible and hope to be working on SR-130 next summer,” UDOT project manager Sam Grimshaw told Cedar City News.

Kitchen said UDOT engineers are planning to add the roundabout to an improvement project that was already in the works for SR-130.

Stop sign at the intersection of Midvalley Road and state Route 130, Enoch, Utah, July 31, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“We were working toward a project in that section anyway,” he said. “We just need to change some of the elements so that we can get the roundabout in that intersection, and to do that we need to go before the transportation commission so that they can change the basic scope of that project.” 

Kitchen said interested parties are invited to email questions and comments to [email protected] or call the Region 4 office in Richfield at 435-893-4799.

“We welcome people, if they’ve got specific experiences there that they think would help us, to go ahead and give the region a call and we’ll be glad to hook them up with the right people,” Kitchen said.

Dotson said he thinks a roundabout will be the best solution for the intersection.

“Roundabouts are so much safer,” he said, noting that there are 30 potential points of conflict if the intersection were controlled by a light, versus just eight points of conflict in a roundabout. 

For planning purposes, UDOT created two simulation videos using heavier than existing traffic flows, based on 2040 population estimates. The traffic light and roundabout videos can be viewed side-by-side in the media player at the top of this report.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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