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Roundabout Project Wins ASHE Delaware Valley Top Honors

Gannett Fleming
Gannett Fleming's Route 52 Roundabout project won a 2014 ASHE Delaware Valley Project of the Year award.
(Valley Forge, Pa.)

A first-of-its-kind project, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Engineering District 6-0’s Route 52 Roundabout project won the 2014 Project of the Year award in the under $10 million category from the Delaware Valley Section of the American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE). Gannett Fleming provided preliminary engineering, final design, and construction phase engineering services for the project.

Each year, ASHE’s Delaware Valley Section recognizes two projects for outstanding engineering achievement; one project with a construction value of more than $10 million, and one with a value of less than $10 million.

Located in Pocopson Township, Chester County, the Route 52 roundabout was the first roundabout constructed by PennDOT Engineering District 6-0. The roundabout has improved safety by reducing speeds and crossing conflict points for turning movements. The project set the bar for signing, safety, and maintenance responsibilities for future roundabouts that will be let and constructed by the District.

“Gannett Fleming is proud to be a part of the award winning project team,” said Paul Linahan, PE, Gannett Fleming’s project manager for the Route 52 roundabout. “Considering the site restrictions and increasing traffic, we came together and developed a solution that would increase safety while helping to reduce congestion.”

Pocopson Township, in cooperation with PennDOT, the Chester County Planning Commission, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), decided to use an increasingly popular solution for the intersection: a roundabout.  The township sponsored the engineering design phase of the project and purchased the property to build the roundabout.

According to the FHWA, roundabouts produce a 35 percent reduction in crashes, with 76 percent fewer injuries and 90 percent fewer fatalities, compared to other types of intersections. FHWA reports also show that roundabouts reduce congestion by being efficient during both peak hours and other times.

Prior to construction of the roundabout, the intersection of Route 52 (Lenape Road) and Wawaset Road was prone to crashes, including rear-ends, head-ons, and sideswipes. The intersection didn’t meet current design criteria and the surrounding terrain created inadequate sight distances at all four legs of the intersection.

To fit the site’s limitations, the project team designed a single-lane roundabout intersection configuration, which does not require exclusive turning lanes, nor would the roadways require major geometric changes to achieve adequate sight distance. The end result was a well-designed roundabout that met the site constraints and increased safety and mobility throughout the region.

ASHE’s Delaware Valley section’s mission is to provide a forum for members and partners of the highway industry to promote a safe, efficient, and sustainable highway system through education, innovation, and fellowship. To qualify for a Project of the Year award, a highway, bridge, or transportation focused project must have been completed within Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Philadelphia counties in Pennsylvania.

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