MDT Responds To Roundabout Traffic Delay
On Friday, May 29, a moving truck transporting an oversized load stopped for approximately 10 minutes at the Fifth Avenue roundabout in Poplar causing traffic to be delayed, according to Shane Mintz, Montana Department of Transportation District Administrator.
“I want to assure folks that the delay on U.S. 2 with this truck was not caused by a flaw in the design of the roundabout,” Mintz said. “Because U.S. 2 is a national highway, we specifically designed the roundabouts in Poplar to accommodate oversized trucks. The truck did make it through the roundabout, it just blocked traffic for a short time.”
According to Mintz, the truck was 250 feet long, 20 feet wide, 22 feet tall and weighed 621,000 pounds. Semi-trailers that exceed 53 feet in length require a permit and vehicles that exceed 150 feet in length are required to undertake a review process which includes a route and bridge analysis to ensure that the roadway can handle the oversized loads.
The truck didn’t follow the instructions for its permit to ensure that their trailer was adjusted and the conflicting construction signs were removed before arrival at the roundabouts. Instead, traffic was blocked at the roundabout while they made the necessary adjustments, Mintz explained. By the time the truck reached Kirn Road, it proceeded through the roundabout without stopping and delaying traffic.
According to Strategies 360 senior vice president for Montana operations Melissa Shannon, MDT designed the roundabouts in Poplar from the beginning with large trucks, RVs, agriculture equipment and oversized loads in mind. The Poplar roundabouts contain several special considerations for large vehicles, including a mountable truck apron in the center for the roundabout designed with a flat slope and low height to accommodate low clearance vehicles and a truck apron designed for trucks to drive on in order to make the turn in the roundabout.
The truck aprons for the Poplar roundabouts are lower than usual to provide for lowboys. Additionally, all sign posts are removable, in order to give oversized loads more room to navigate. Light poles and other utilizes are located outside oversized truck paths. Curbing and exterior medians are reinforced to accommodate the weight of oversized loads. This includes mountable curbs in the areas where overlap could occur.
For more information about the ongoing construction in Poplar, visit mdt. mt.gov/pubinvolve/poplar/.