The City of London has awarded a contract to design the first of many roundabouts, this one at Wonderland and Sunningdale roads.

The busy intersection, in an area where much of the city’s growth has been taking place, is experiencing a troubling combination of high volume and high speeds.

It has also been the scene of a number of serious collisions in recent years, and Doug MacRae, roads and transportation manager for the city, says a roundabout may be the solution.

 “They change the nature in which vehicles interact. They force vehicles to merge, so when collisions do happen they tend to be more minor deflection fender benders, as opposed to the high-severity t-bone collisions that we typically see at signalized intersections.”

While a roundabout intersection has a higher initial cost than a signalized intersection at about $1.5 million, the city says it will save on maintenance costs in the long run.

A roundabout also reduces idling, which is better for the environment.

And the plan is to design the roundabout so that as the city grows it will be able to handle even more traffic.

MacRae says “It'll start out as a single-lane roundabout - as Sunningdale Road is expanded - the roundabout will be easily expanded to be a two-lane roundabout. So that'll easily accommodate traffic volume at this location for a long time to come.”

City staff says more roundabouts will be used as London grows, with another one already under development for the intersection at Adelaide Street and Sunningdale Road.