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County moving forward on plans for roundabout
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Effingham County commissioners approved a step toward reworking the McCall and Blue Jay-Blandford roads intersections.

Commissioners agreed to send a letter to the state Department of Transportation that says the county will purchase needed right-of-way and pay for any utility relocation at the intersection. Toss Allen, engineer with the county’s public works department, estimated the work wouldn’t cost the county more than $15,000.

The plan calls for a roundabout to be constructed just west of the current McCall-Blue Jay intersection. Plans also call for resurfacing stretches of McCall and Blue Jay roads.

“In doing so, we want to widen Blue Jay in particular an additional two feet in such a way that the truck traffic on that road will be accommodated,” Allen said.

The widening and the roundabout result from recommendations for traffic improvements designed for the Effingham Industrial Development Authority’s Research Forest Tract. Engineers designing traffic flow around the Research Forest Tract recommended a roundabout at the Blue Jay-McCall intersection to gain separation from the Blandford-McCall interchange. Those improvements are designed to ease transportation and logistics movement out of the Research Forest Tract, which is a long-range project.

Right-of-way will be purchased from two property owners but it will affect three landowners, according to Allen.

He added he doesn’t anticipate the intersection getting a traffic signal unless the Research Forest Tract is developed.

“You’re supposed to have 1,320 feet between signals but because of this roundabout, it allows us to sort of circumvent that,” Allen said.

In addition, work on Hodgeville and Sand Hill roads will be done under a federal program, according to Allen. The Federal Highway Administration is planning to widen Hodgeville Road from Blue Jay to Goshen by two feet and widen Sand Hill Road from Central Avenue to Highway 80 by two feet.

“FHA has a program about high risk rural roads where they make capacity and intersection improvements to roads that have a lot of traffic accidents,” Allen said.

That work is being done independently of the county’s efforts at the McCall-Blue Jay interchange.

Allen said the county wants to look at realigning the intersection of Hodgeville and Blue Jay roads.

“It’s a hard angle and we want to straighten that out,” he said.

The county also wants to put in a right turn lane at the intersection and add center turn and right turn lanes at the Horsepen and Blue Jay roads intersection.

“We’re trying to do intersection capacity improvements as we go through there also,” Allen said.