A decision by a citizen’s advisory group with the Missouri Department of Transportation is coming to fruition with the construction of Audrain County’s first rural roundabout, located at U.S. Highway 54 and Missouri Highway 19, also known as Scott’s Corner.

Work on the approximately $2.4 million project began May 6 near the Community R-6 school building. Area community members learned about the roundabout Wednesday during an information session hosted by MoDOT at the school.

S&A Equipment and Builders of Fulton is constructing the roundabout where a commuter parking lot was located. Traffic is not expected to be affected, except when roundabout pathways are tied into existing roadways. The only complete closure will occur when Missouri Route BB will close for two weeks as it is tied into the roundabout shortly before the anticipated open date of Aug. 12.

Just over 20 crashes have taken place at this intersection since 2011, with one fatality in 2016. The design of the intersection currently is a conventional cross-street intersection, with a right turn offset onto westbound U.S. 54 and southbound MO 19.

Members of the advisory group formed in 2015 to form a plan to slow motorists down and prevent broadside collisions as vehicles turn through the intersection. The group included then-Missouri State Rep. Jay Houghton, Community R-VI Superintendent Cheryl Mack, Laddonia Mayor Josh Deimeke, Roger Cope of Martinsburg Area Fire Protection District, farmer Kyle Pound and Audrain County Commissioner Alan Winders.

The group considered options like reducing the speed limit, making the intersection a four-way stop, installing traffic signals, building an overpass interchange or constructing a rural roundabout.

“We talked about why do people get killed and seriously hurt at regular intersections,” said MoDOT Area Engineer Brian Haeffner. “It’s because there is constant traffic and right-angle collisions.”

The group settled on the roundabout in 2017, which, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, reduce total crashes by 39 percent, reduce injury crashes by 76 percent and reduce fatal and serious injury crashes by 89 percent. A roundabout also is planned for Bassinger Corner at a later date.

“I want to take an opportunity to thank MoDOT for recognizing the concerns that R-VI school has and the people of our area have had in regard to this intersection,” Winders said at the information session. “I appreciate the investment in safety in this part of our county.”

Phil Guibor, who travels through the Scott’s Corner intersection on a daily basis, is excited about the construction. “I think it’s going to be an improvement, save people from wrecks,” he said.

Construction of the roundabout will essentially go from the center outward. Northbound, southbound and westbound roadway approaches also will take place during the main roundabout construction. Temporary paving will be added to shoulders to extend roadway width. There will be periods of single lane traffic, with flagged controls, as the roundabout approaches are tied into existing roadways. While the roundabout is expected to open to traffic by Aug. 12, construction won’t be completed until Sept. 13.

Community R-VI is waiting to see how the roundabout will affect busing. “Once they get the project a little farther along, I think we’ll be able to see what we need to do to make sure our buses are running smoothly,” she said.