First Highway Roundabout Intersection In Northwest Iowa To Be Installed Between Orange City And Alton

Orange City, Iowa — Northwest Iowa is about to get its first roundabout intersection on a state highway, and it’s going to be right in our coverage area.

Iowa Department of Transportation Planner Dakin Schultz says roundabouts are not a new concept, but they’ve never been implemented around here on roads that the state is in charge of.

The school to which Schultz refers is the new MOC/FV Elementary school between Orange City and Alton that is being built to replace both the Orange City and Hospers elementary schools. It is hoped that students will be able to start classes in the new building in the fall of 2023.

While there is, of course, a roundabout at the Crossroads Pavilion Events Center in Sheldon, it’s not on a through road or state highway. In fact, it’s just for one street and the entrance to the events center.

Schultz tells us about the operation of a roundabout.

Schultz says this will be the first roundabout on state highways in the 20 northwestern-most Iowa counties, known as DOT District 3, which goes east as far as the east borders of Emmet and Palo Alto counties and south as far as the south borders of Monona, Crawford, and Carroll counties and includes Sioux City and the Iowa Great Lakes. He tells us this is just the first roundabout. They are being discussed as alternatives in other projects already.

Roundabouts on through roads have been in our larger area — but out of Iowa — for at least ten years. The closest ones to most of us are on Minnesota Highway 60 in Worthington, with a more recent roundabout being installed at Lincoln County Road 106 and South Louise Avenue south of Sioux Falls.

Schultz says roundabouts have better throughput, less delay, less cost to maintain, and fewer severe accidents; and their slower speed makes pedestrian accidents less likely too. He says the intersection improvement will cost just shy of $1.5 million.



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