Local

Board of Supervisors approves roundabout in North Fork, but some remain skeptical.

An aerial view of the roundabout planned for Roads 274 and 225 in North Fork. There are three different ideas for the center of the roundabout.
An aerial view of the roundabout planned for Roads 274 and 225 in North Fork. There are three different ideas for the center of the roundabout. Submitted graphic

Despite some public backlash, the Madera County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the construction of North Fork’s first roundabout.

The roundabout will be built at the junction of Roads 225 and 274, according to the contract between the county and American Paving Company. The four-way intersection is currently controlled by a four-legged, three-way stop, which some residents have reported to be hazardous due to the steepness of Road 225.

The $1.97-million project, which has been in the works for about three years, will replace the stops with a roundabout. American Paving Company will be in charge of the construction, beating out four other bids.

The approval came during the supervisors’ May 7 meeting.

“For the opportunity that we have and the funding that we have, a roundabout is always the better solution for safety,” said Madera County Public Works director Ahmad Alkhayyat.

He added that the roundabout was “absolutely” safer than a four-way stop, with research showing that roundabouts decrease accidents by 62 percent.

About $1.4 million of the funding for the project is coming from a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant, said Alkhayyat. Measure T funds will cover the remaining cost.

“I just want the public to really know that these dollars cannot be used any place else in Madera County, on any kind of road, or it goes back to the grantee,” District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler said.

Two community members attended the meeting to express their concern with the project. Community members have opposed the project in previous meetings, as well.

“I am here in opposition of the roundabout, along with the majority of the people from North Fork,” said North Fork resident Kent Goodwin.

Goodwin said he spoke for the majority of North Fork residents when he called the project “the most idiotic thing he had ever heard.” He demanded further study to prove the necessity of the roundabout.

Don Grove, also of North Fork, used research from the Indiana Department of Transportation to argue against the roundabout. Grove said the nearby North Fork Elementary School, truck traffic and steep terrain made for an unfavorable location for a roundabout.

In spite of these grievances, all five supervisors voted in favor of the roundabout.

“I think if we could reduce (accidents) by 62 percent, and then on top of that have a less likelihood of anybody dying, that’s what we’re here to do is to make those decisions in the best interest of everybody,” said District 1 Supervisor Brett Frazier.

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