Our View: SR95 roundabout spat offers lessons for Havasu

May 10, 2019 GMT

The Arizona Department of Transportation did the right thing in scrubbing plans to install a roundabout along a busy highway in Mohave Valley.

Residents of the area along State Route 95 strongly opposed the roundabout and elected officials jumped in with support. The intersection of the highway with Aztec Road has a lot of accidents and high traffic volume in a commercial zone highlighted by both Smith’s and Safeway groceries.

It has a traffic signal, but ADOT saw the need for an upgrade. In the eyes of many, roundabouts are no improvement though some studies say they reduce accidents.

Also called traffic circles or rotaries, roundabouts seem to be universally despised by drivers and beloved by highway departments.

Where one pops up, others seem sure to follow. Which is why the Lake Havasu City area should pay attention to the Mohave Valley roundabout.

Put another way, a solution for SR95 in Mohave Valley would also likely be viewed as a solution for SR95 around Lake Havasu City whether it solves anything or not.

As with the stretch of highway leading to Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City has a number of intersections that, as highway people say, need “calming.” We’d hate to see roundabouts in Lake Havasu City’s future.

SR95 is the only highway running north and south in far western Arizona. As such, it carries a lot of traffic, including all the commercial traffic in the area. Large trucks and roundabouts are notoriously poor fits.

Imagine a traffic circle at the intersection of SR95 and Mulberry Avenue where Lake Havasu Avenue traffic attempts to flow into the mix. Other highway intersections would not be much better either.

The local planning organization is looking at future traffic flow along the highway in Lake Havasu City. No one is proposing traffic circles but we hope they pay attention to the public’s reaction in Mohave Valley before going very far with the plans.

Larger cities take advantage of overpasses and underpasses to merge traffic and keep it flowing. Those aren’t bad solutions for growing areas of Mohave County.

Legislators from Mohave County were helpful in eliminating the roundabout in Mohave Valley. We hope they can keep working with ADOT to find good, lasting traffic solutions for the lone highway in this area.

— Today’s News-Herald