Area residents have had to adjust with the road closures and detours as a result of the March flooding — probably none more so than those who travel state highways 31 and 36.
The two highways, which intersect 3.47 miles west of the northwest corporate limits of Bennington, have become detour routes for U.S. Highway 30 and state Highway 91, which are closed due to flood damage in Washington County.
Traffic has steadily increased since and caused an already dangerous intersection to become increasingly treacherous. Highway 36 is also frequented by trucks headed to the nearby landfill in addition to the motorists.
Earlier this month, the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) created a four-way stop at the intersection, which will remain through the fall. The NDOT deemed it necessary for the detoured flood traffic control and the upcoming intersection roundabout project.
The NDOT should be credited for this decision. It likely saved lives.
A roundabout at this intersection is also the best option.
According to the NDOT, roundabouts have been shown to reduce injury accidents by 75 percent and fatal accidents by as much as 90 percent. The reduction in accidents is attributed to slower speeds and reduced number of conflict points.
The $3.7 million project is expected to start this summer and be completed by fall. And it couldn't come soon enough. It's time to slow drivers down at this intersection and keep people safe.