KY 686-KY 713 Intersection Improvements

​Montgomery County

Montgomery Roundabout1024_1.jpg

800 Newtown CourtLexingtonKY40511LexingtonKY405128:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. EST, M-F(859) 246-2355(859) 246-2354KYTC.District7Info@ky.gov,-84.5386349,14.25z/data=!4m6!3m5!1s0x88424445982df023:0xd1bd09f230d00b9f!8m2!3d38.0753254!4d-84.4922346!16s%2Fg%2F1thf9791

From the Mt. Sterling Advocate Newspaper by Tom Marshall, Senior Advocate Writer:

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet unveiled its plans for an improvement project for the dangerous Bypass/Spencer Road intersection during a virtual public meeting available Tuesday night on Zoom.To reduce accidents at the intersection the cabinet is proposing installation of a single-lane roundabout.Research has found that single-lane roundabouts are safer for motorists and pedestrians, according to the cabinet. Single-lane roundabouts are characterized by one entry/exit lane and one circulatory lane.The cabinet plans to solicit bids soon and award a contract by the end of February. Construction would begin in the spring with completion in late 2022, according to the time line released by the cabinet Tuesday night.The cabinet said it plans to do the bulk of the construction during the summer when school is not in session.The projected cost of the project is estimated at nearly $1 million.It would be funded with federal money from the Highway Safety Improvement Program. The cabinet said it receives about $40 million a year as part of the program that can be spent on various projects.According to statistics provided by the cabinet Tuesday night, there were 27 crashes at the intersection between 2010 and 2020. Nineteen were considered angle crashes, in which contact was directly at an angle rather than a sideswipe. Seven of them were rear-end accidents.Sixteen, or 59 percent, of the accidents involved injury. Six of them resulted in fatality or serious injury, cabinet statistics show.Those numbers are alarming and very much higher than those for other intersections, said Kendra Schenk, a safety and traffic engineer with the cabinet who moderated the meeting.Local officials renewed efforts for some sort of action from the state to reduce accidents at the intersection following a fatal accident there May 14, 2021, in which Emilee Collins, a Montgomery County High School student, was killed.A petition drive was started by a classmate of Collins’ calling for a traffic light.On the state level, state Sen. Ralph Alvarado and Rep. David Hale led the effort. They were also joined by local officials such as County Commissioner Melody Townsend and Sheriff David Charles.The Fiscal Court, as a group, had also asked that a traffic study of the intersection be conducted.The cabinet has installed overhead flashing traffic beacons and stop signs and temporary rumble strips along Spencer Road, but the cabinet concluded that more needed to be done, Schenk told the audience for the meeting. Delineator posts were also installed on the Bypass to warn of the approaching intersection.Burgess and Niple, an engineering and architecture firm, was hired as design consultant on the project.Together with the cabinet, officials settled on the single-lane roundabout as the best solution, Schenk said. Officials said they concluded that a roundabout would be better than a traffic light because it would produce only minimal delays.The roundabout was also chosen because its circular shape has been shown to slow speed and has the benefit of no lane changes and raised islands showing motorists where to go, she said.The roundabouts include a truck apron for tractor-trailer traffic.An example of such a roundabout can be found on North Bend Road in Boone County. It is not like the traffic circle at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., Schenk said.Other reasons the single-lane roundabout was chosen, she said, is that they tend to be safer, more efficient and reduce noise and vehicle emissions.When there are accidents, Schenk said the roundabouts tend to reduce the severity.With the roundabouts the collisions tend to be more of a sideswipe nature rather than direct angle crashes, according to the cabinet.Schenk said research shows the roundabouts result in an 82 percent reduction in severe crashes.Among the other benefits, she said, is an increase in traffic capacity by a projected 30 to 50 percent and a reduction in fuel consumption by 23 to 34 percent.At the conclusion of a presentation on the benefits of a roundabout, Schenk opened up the meeting for submitted questions from the public.One question was about the cabinet’s previous plans to eventually open up the Bypass to four lanes of traffic. Cabinet officials said current traffic patterns for the Bypass do not support expansion to four lanes and they did not expect that to change for the foreseeable future.In response to one question the cabinet added that there is currently enough right-of-way in place to support construction of a roundabout.Schenk said the cabinet will start a local campaign to educate the public about navigating a roundabout on social media and through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 7 website.For the most part, however, she said, roundabouts are self explanatory.The public will be able to view a recording of Tuesday night’s meeting on the district website, officials said.Anyone with questions about the plan is asked to send them to

 Public Meeting Virtual Q&A


Public Meeting Q&A Summary – January 18, 2022

·         Is this plan already finalized?

o   Yes, KYTC is moving forward with the construction of a roundabout at this intersection. This project is going out to bid in early February 2022. The contractor bids are due at the end of February. Burgess and Niple has created the roundabout plans and KYTC is in the process of adding contract language to the plans to get them ready for advertisement.

·         What plans are there to educate the public on the use of the roundabout, as this is a new concept to most people in this area?

o   The geometry of the roundabout is designed to be intuitive, using raised channelized islands to direct drivers into the roundabout. This design helps to prevent drivers from making an illegal left-turn into the roundabout. Pavement markings and signage will also clearly direct vehicles into the intersection. The roundabout at this location will also only has one lane, making it one of the more basic roundabout designs.

o   The project team also plans to educate the public through social media and local news stations. KYTC District 7 is going to post this presentation along with some roundabout "how-to" videos on their website.

·         How is a roundabout safer than a traffic light?

o   The crashes that occur at roundabouts are generally far less severe than those that occur at traditional intersection. Roundabouts reduce vehicular speeds and the angle of impact between two vehicles is less than that of a traditional intersection. The design itself virtually eliminates the potential for angle crashes, especially the more severe T-bone type crashes.

o   A traditional four-legged intersection (either signalized or unsignalized) has 32 conflict points. In other words, that is 32 places where a crash may occur within a signal intersection. A single lane roundabout, like the one being constructed at the KY-686 and KY-713 intersection, only has 8 conflict points.

·         Why are you asking for input if it's already been designed? 

o   The goal of this meeting was to educate the public on what is being constructed at the intersection and what to expect in the coming months. This intersection is a high priority intersection due to the fatal and serious injury crashes that have occurred. The safety improvement project is on an accelerated schedule due to these safety concerns at the intersection.

·         Will the roundabout affect tractor and trailer traffic traveling down KY 686?

o   No, tractor and truck traffic will not be affected. A truck apron is in included in the central island of the roundabout. Semi-trucks, farm equipment, and other large vehicles can use the truck apron to drive through the roundabout. The curb of the truck apron is rolled so that truck wheels can easily mount the curb. Software was utilized in the design of the roundabout to ensure trucks and farm equipment have the necessary space to cross the intersection.

·         Will all overhead traffic lighting be removed?

o   The overhead flashing beacons will be removed. KYTC is adding street lighting at the roundabout so the intersection will be illuminated at night.

·         What is the cost difference of a roundabout compared to a traffic light?

o   The cost of the roundabout is just under a million dollars. When comparing different intersection alternatives, it is important not only to look at the cost of the improvement, but also at the safety benefits. While a roundabout is more expensive than a traffic signal, the safety benefits far outweigh the cost difference. The yearly cost of maintenance for a roundabout is also much lower than a traffic signal. At a traffic signal, additional costs are incurred each year such as the cost of electricity and the cost of the traffic timing software.

·         What happens when KY 686 becomes a four-lane roadway?

o   When KY 686 was first constructed it was predicted that it would need to be widened to a four-lane divided roadway in the future. Surprisingly, traffic volumes have plateaued, and widening will likely not be needed in the future. In order to warrant widening on KY 686, the current volumes would need to double or even triple. The proposed roundabout is expected to have a long service life due to the low growth expected in the area. The roundabout also provides excess capacity to the intersection compared to a traffic signal if volumes do increase.

·         Is there enough room for a big roundabout?

o   There is enough room to install the single-lane roundabout. The multi-lane roundabout was not considered because the widening of KY 686 will likely not be necessary. The roundabout could be expanded to accommodate the four-lanes on KY 686 if widening is necessary in the future. [KS1] 

·         Where does the money for the roundabout come from?

o   This money is coming from the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). Every year the federal government provides states with dedicated funds for Highway Safety Improvement projects. Historically, Kentucky has received around 40 million dollars per year to implement safety improvement projects. In the HSIP program, the construction of a roundabout does not require any additional funding provided by the local municipalities. This project will be completely federally funded.

·         Is there enough right-of-way currently to construct this roundabout?

o   Yes, the roundabout will be constructed within the existing right-of-way.

·         Does the roundabout design allow for expansion as traffic flow increases in the coming years?

o   An analysis was conducted as part of the study and showed that there is excess capacity to serve additional traffic volumes than what currently travels along KY 686 and KY 713.  

·         Is the roundabout designed to keep traffic flowing with absolutely no stoppage?

o   Vehicles will still need to slow/stop at the roundabout when other vehicles are already traveling within the roundabout, but the delay will be minimal. Delay is reduced by allowing motorists to yield rather than to stop at the entry to the roundabout. Rather than sitting stopped at a red light, traffic is always moving. The improved operations are especially notable during off-peak times when the side street traffic (KY 713) would have to wait for the signal to turn green even though there are no vehicles on the mainline.

·         Will they modify the embankment on Spencer Road (KY 713)?

o   No, the design does not currently have any embankment changes. The embankment is not currently creating sight distance concerns.

·         Will there be signage placed on the KY 686 and KY 713, cautioning the driver of the upcoming roundabout?

o   Yes, warning roundabout warning signage will be present on all approaches to the intersection. These signs also have an advisory speed so drivers are aware of the speed they should be traveling through the roundabout.

·         What's the time frame for the construction of the new roundabout? In other words, what are the beginning and ending dates?

o   The specific dates are not known at this time. The construction will be awarded to a contractor in early February 2022 and construction will likely begin in the spring of 2022. The bulk of the work is planned to be completed in the summer of 2022 when school is not in session. The goal is to have the roundabout open by the end of 2022. Press releases, KYTC's District 7 webpage and social media posts will be utilized to communicate the project time frame and traffic patterns changes when this information becomes available.

Any additional questions can be sent to Shane Tucker at

​​This page is maintained by Nick Beasmore​, who may be contacted to make corrections or changes.

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