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RoUndAbout Economic FOOLery
Wickenburg, Arizona,- The debate regarding roundabouts for the section of Highway 93 from the Wickenburg interim bypass to the intersection of highway 93 & 89 is in full swing. The costs involved, need to be evaluated over the long term to realize the true cost of these intersections to society as a whole.
Using ADOT estimates a roundabout will cost approximately $1 to $1.2 million dollars each to construct. A limited access intersection using ADOT's estimates at $10 to $ 12 million dollars each. Granted roundabouts start out cheaper. But what will they cost over the twenty to twenty five years, before the, maybe, ultimate by pass around Wickenburg is completed?
Using the assumption that five roundabouts are installed at the proposed intersections ,the initial cost would be $5 to $6 million dollars. The limited access intersections costs would be $50 to $60 million dollar total. Today to travel that distance at 60 miles per hour takes you five minutes. Roundabouts will slow you down to 25 miles per hour in the circle and you will need to slow down well before you enter the roundabout. Using a 1/2 mile portion of the road to decelerate from the 65 miles per hour north of 89/93 junction as a yard stick. More than half of the distance today that you travel of this five mile section will average 37 miles per hour based on my projections. That is 61% of the speed you drove without roundabouts. That would be in a perfect world.
I do feel that local residents can and would learn to navigate roundabouts. The problem lies in the fact that this section of highway has been designated as the CANAMEX highway. What does that represent? A high percentage of drivers on this road will be from everywhere, but the Wickenburg area. Most of these people will never have seen a roundabout. Today over 10,000 vehicles per day use this road and the twenty year projection is for 20 to 30,000 vehicles to drive this road per day. The net result, traffic will slow down below my projected 37 miles per hour speed limit, and at peak hours may back up. Be conservative let's say 25% less. Now we all are averaging 28 miles per hour.
The cost of this time lost for the drivers on this road can be estimated. Using today dollars (ignoring Inflation) the average family in Arizona makes $22.00 per hour. Three minutes more time costs you one dollar after taxes.($1.30 dollars pretax.) 15,000 vehicles per day is $18750.00 per day costs, directly out of user's of the roundabouts. Yearly that equals $6.9 million dollars. Over twenty years that is $ 137 million dollars that is a direct cost, more than double the cost of limited access intersections.
The cost of the additional fuel used ,due to the five times your vehicle will have to accelerate coming out of the roundabout, is an additional cost to all drivers. If you drive these proposed roundabouts two times a day, five times a week, remember to subtract 30 minutes from your life, needed to drive this section of highway. Twenty six hours subtracted per year.
0n Monday March 13, 2006 Yavapai Board of Supervisor Thomas Thurman stated
" I don't know anybody who likes roundabouts, except a few people down at ADOT".
(At Congress , AZ public meeting)
At this point you have a say in whether roundabouts happen here.
Here is the link for the ADOT comment page http://www.wickenburg.civilnet.sverdrup.com/Shared Files/feedback.htm.
DON'T BE FOOLED BY ROUNDABOUTS. Remember roundabouts never sleep.
They slow you down 24 hours, seven days a week.
Robert Hipman, Economist
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