Buell Lane Roundabout Coming in Spring

The project will include a landscaped center island and multiple crosswalks.
A roundabout at the intersection of Buell and Toilsome Lanes in East Hampton Village could be constructed in spring 2017, a consulting engineer told the village board last Thursday.

Members of the village board learned that a traffic roundabout long planned for the intersection of Buell and Toilsome Lanes is likely to be constructed in the spring and heard plans to create a soft barrier at the south end of Town Pond to protect the Hedges Inn property.

The roundabout, designed by the office of Drew Bennett, a consulting engineer, is intended to control and make traffic safer at what is called the five corners intersection. “We anticipate Department of Transportation approval and a work permit to be issued shortly,” Mr. Bennett told the board. “With board approval, we would be in position for winter bidding.”

Approximately 3,800 square yards of roadway will be relocated to accommodate the 100-foot-diameter roundabout, which he said would enhance the safety of motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. The project will include a landscaped center island, pedestrian safety islands amid multiple crosswalks, and the relocation of one utility pole, and new sidewalks, signs, landscaping, and drainage. The estimated cost is $1 million, of which $700,000 will come from a state grant.

Mayor Rickenbach asked that the Ladies Village Improvement Society and Garden Club of East Hampton be included in landscape plans for the center island. “We’ll provide a water tap inside the roundabout itself so they’ll be able to irrigate any shrubs and flowers,” Mr. Bennett said.

The single-lane roundabout will resemble one on North Haven rather than one on Scuttlehole Road in Bridgehampton, which is smaller. It will accommodate the East Hampton Fire Department’s vehicles, Mr. Bennett said. He called the continuous movement of traffic encouraged by the roundabout “a significant improvement” over the present hard stops. Bicyclists will share the roundabout with motorists, which Mr. Bennett said is safer than an additional lane.

Mr. Bennett also discussed the creation of a soft barrier for vehicles that fail to execute the 90-degree left-hand turn from Woods Lane onto Main Street. The idea is to create what he called a wet swale, a shallow, sloped depression, at the south end of the pond.

According to Becky Molinaro, the village administrator, after a New York City taxi crossed the grass island there and crashed through the Hedges Inn fence in September, one of several such incidents, “representatives from the property came in again and asked if it was something the village could discuss and review for consideration.” The inn’s owners, she said, had indicated a willingness to share the cost.

The swale would be planted and its bottom would be muddy, Mr. Bennett said. “The idea was that it would not be a sharp barrier to a car traveling across it, but would certainly slow it down if not bring it to a halt,” he said. “We’ll go back to the folks that raised the issue and will look for equal funding,” the mayor said.