Roundabout Project to Begin this Month

The Ohio Department of Transportation project aims to improve vehicular and pedestrian safety at the intersection of Route 229 and Wiggin Street.


A state project to improve traffic safety at the main entrance to Gambier by installing a roundabout at the intersection of Route 229 and Wiggin Street is poised to begin later this month on May 28.

The Ohio Department of Transportation construction schedule calls for the intersection to close to pedestrians and vehicles two weeks later on June 11. The intersection is scheduled to reopen on Nov. 1, according to Ian Smith P'24 '27, vice president for facilities, planning and sustainability.

The general recommended detour for through travelers who would normally take Route 229 from Mount Vernon to points east of Gambier would be to take U.S. 36 (Coshocton Avenue) east to U.S. 62 (Millersburg Road) and then south to Route 229. To get to Mount Vernon from Kenyon’s campus, drivers should take Route 308 (Chase Avenue) north to U.S. 36.

The one-lane roundabout, which was designed with input from the College and Village of Gambier, will require a large retaining wall along Route 229 because it will need to cut into the hill. 

Other changes are expected to make the intersection safer for pedestrians, too, who cross to reach the Brown Family Environmental Center (BFEC) on Laymon Road. A crosswalk will be installed at the edge of the roundabout, and it will be connected to a new sidewalk along Wiggin. The pedestrian crossing is designed with improved pedestrian safety in mind, limiting the distance crossed to no more than a single vehicle lane at a time. It also is located at a point where oncoming traffic will have slowed considerably for the roundabout.

State transportation officials conducted a safety study of the intersection following a fatal collision in December 2020 that killed a 21-year-old Gambier resident and injured three others. A total of 25 accidents have taken place at the intersection since 2013.

The project was discussed April 22 during a special public meeting of Gambier Village Council. A number of questions were received beforehand and addressed by ODOT and the Village, as reported on the Gambier website.

These included inquiries about whether large vehicles — such as trucks and farm vehicles — will be able to maneuver through the roundabout. A number of elements are designed to accommodate larger vehicles, according to ODOT, such as raised truck aprons that are not intended for passenger vehicles and lights and signs that are set further back from the roundabout. 

ODOT officials indicated that they will monitor traffic due to detours and adjust as needed but have no plans for temporary or permanent traffic signals at the intersection of U.S. 36 and Route 308. 

“With safety in mind, we will do our best to minimize impact and inconvenience to the motoring public affected by the detour for the roundabout,” ODOT said, according to the Village website. “Nonetheless, this is a temporary traffic pattern that will be put into place for a few months while the roundabout is constructed, and traffic will be impacted. Adjustments in driving habits and patience with the construction process are appreciated.”

More information about the ODOT project is available on its website, where there are answers to frequently-asked questions and other details.