More roundabouts coming to Oakland County's busiest intersections

Experts say roundabouts are safer and keep traffic moving more smoothly. 

Many drivers loathe them, but Oakland County is planning to bring more traffic circles to its busiest roadways.

"I'll be the first one to cause an accident," said Marylou Harrelson. "They confuse me and I see other people confused." 

No one is going "round about" their feelings for roundabouts in Orion Township. Hate them or love them, get used to more of them in Metro Detroit. 

A cluster of new traffic circles is being built on Baldwin north of I-75, between Waldon and Morgan roads. When the two-year project is done, there will be five new traffic circles. 

Craig Bryson with the Oakland County Road Commission says construction will start this spring.  

"It will be the highest concentration of roundabouts in a two-mile section that we have anywhere in the county," Bryson said. "We think it will really transform that section of Orion Township, it will create a downtown effect there that the township is very interested in."

The project will take two years to finish up.  The most recent roundabout project wrapped up last month in the Novi area at 10 Mile and Napier. Jeremy Lewinski works construction in a new subdivision right next to the new circle. 

"A lot of close calls on roundabouts," he said. "I don't think they are very safe. I think lights are a lot safer."

"Those comments have almost completely gone away," Bryson said. "There have been no problems there. It is working very well. It is a much better flowing intersection."

Traffic circles make intersections safer, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Part of the reason? You're driving slower on them making the severity of accidents less.  

Bryson says there have been zero fatal accidents at traffic circles since they started in Oakland County in 1999.