Roundabout project moves ahead in Lawrence Township

Plans for a proposed roundabout for the intersection of Princeton Avenue and the Brunswick Circle Extension in Lawrence Township are entering the final design stage.

A proposed roundabout for the intersection of Princeton Avenue and the Brunswick Circle Extension, which aims to improve safety for motorists, is inching closer to reality as the project enters the final design stage, according to Mercer County Engineer Basit “Sunny” Muzaffar.

The roundabout will replace the “Y” intersection, which has one stop sign for traffic on Princeton Avenue headed north – but none for cars traveling south on Princeton Avenue or on the Brunswick Circle Extension.

The “Y” intersection results in many sideswipe crashes and encroachment crashes as cars headed south on the Brunswick Circle Extension attempt to merge onto Princeton Avenue with cars that are also traveling south on Princeton Avenue, said project engineer Adam Brown.

The move to replace the “Y” intersection with a roundabout grew out of a study of the area, said Brown, who works for Urban Engineers. The consultant engineering firm was hired by Mercer County.

A roundabout is not the same as a traffic circle. A roundabout has a smaller circumference than a traffic circle, and there is one lane in and one lane out. Drivers who approach a roundabout have a clear view of other vehicles in the roundabout.

Roundabouts direct all traffic movements to the right, which helps to prevent crashes, Brown said. There are no left turns in a roundabout. Cars enter a roundabout at a slower speed and must yield to cars already in the roundabout.

Pre- and post-study crash data have shown that roundabouts reduce severe crashes by as much as 78% at intersections controlled by a traffic signal, and by as much as 82% at intersections with stop signs, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Bicyclists and pedestrians also will benefit from the roundabout, Brown said. Accommodations will be made for them by means of crosswalks on the roundabout.

A pedestrian and bicycle path will be construction on the east side of Princeton Avenue. There will be street lights on utility poles at the crosswalks, so drivers will be able to see the pedestrians and bicyclists.

Construction authorization is expected to be obtained later this year. It is expected that construction would begin in 2023, Brown said. It will take about nine months to one year to complete the roundabout project.