OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. -

Oakland County's romance with roundabouts is taking a major step with one of its busiest intersections.

About 40,000 vehicles each day travel Orchard Lake Road where it crosses 14 Mile Road. Northwestern Highway ends at Orchard Lake Road just a few hundred yards to the north, adding to the congestion.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Road Commission of Oakland County laid out the plans. By next year, the traffic will be handled by a roundabout, much like those already in place west of the intersection. Some drivers hate roundabouts.

"You're on the inside lane, they're right in front of you. I mean, it's scary," said Pat Cooney, of West Bloomfield Township.

The traffic circles do require a learning curve. Confused drivers often cause crashes while changing lanes in the roundabout. However, engineers say the design actually cuts deadly crashes by 90 percent.


Plan for roundabout at 14 Mile Road and Orchard Lake Road intersection

"They're essentially more of a sheet metal type crash and not the injury, sever injury type crashes that you see at a standard intersection," said Jeff O'Brien, Road Commission design engineer.

Oakland County already has 24 roundabouts, and more are coming.

Hope Steinberg, of West Bloomfield Township, said she avoids the roundabouts by taking detours through neighborhoods.

"I won't go down on Farmington (Road) I won't go on Maple (Road). It's terrible and a lot of people complain about it, especially my age group," Steinberg said.

However, other drivers say roundabouts save time and gas that would have been wasted while idling.

For information on how to safely navigate a roundabout go to www.nwconnector.com.