Clint Sparks, right, answers questions from Madison residents Steve Fawbush, left, and Ronald Hoeferkamp during an informational meeting about the roundabout that has been proposed to replace the four-way intersection at Clifty Drive and U.S. 421. The meeting was held at the Brown Gym on Thursday. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Clint Sparks, right, answers questions from Madison residents Steve Fawbush, left, and Ronald Hoeferkamp during an informational meeting about the roundabout that has been proposed to replace the four-way intersection at Clifty Drive and U.S. 421. The meeting was held at the Brown Gym on Thursday. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Jefferson County residents got a possible glimpse at the future Thursday night during an informational meeting about a proposed roundabout at the intersection of U.S. 421 and State Road 62.

The presentation was made by the Indiana Department of Transportation and the engineering firm American Structurepoint Inc., which developed an initial design of how the roundabout would look.

Mike Maurvick of Structurepoint told the group of about 30 people about a 2012 study of the U. S. 421 and State Road 62 intersection. According to Maurvick, 38 percent of the accidents at the intersection are considered severe accidents, or accidents that involve an injury.

According to Maurvick, that's because the accidents frequently happen at a 90-degree angle. A roundabout, he said, reduces the opportunity for 90-degree collisions. Instead, vehicles are more likely to side swipe one another in a collision.

"You have a much better chance of walking away from a 20 mph sideswipe than a 50 mph T-bone," Maurvick said.

Sheriff John Wallace and Madison Police Chief Dan Thurston both voiced strong support for the project.

"What accidents I've been to at that intersection have not been good," Thurston said. "They are high-speed. They are right-angle crashes and the people involved get taken to the hospital."

Wallace added that, while he understands may people don't want to pay for a new roundabout, his main goal as sheriff is maintaining safety.

"I've been to a lot of bad accidents. This definitely makes our motorists much more safe," he said.

Danny Pearcy of INDOT said the intersection is considered one of the state's more dangerous intersections, which is why it has been targeted. And because safety is a concern, federal funding is available. 

"The federal government would put up 90 percent of the total funding," Pearcy said. 

The total cost projection for the project was not given during the presentation. Maurvick said they would hope to have construction begin in the spring of 2015.

Nick Ellis was one person who attended the presentation. He said he was generally in favor of a roundabout from the beginning, and the meeting reaffirmed his belief.

"I think (roundabouts are) more efficient and safer in general," Ellis said. "I think it makes a lot of sense."

Maurvick said at the end of the presentation that a public hearing would be held at a future date for audience input.