Scott Ball / Rivard Report
Downtown drivers may be able to cruise through a new roundabout slated to open Monday near Fox Tech High School and the Central Library.
The circular drive will be fed by North Main Avenue, Navarro Street, and San Pedro Avenue, which was closed south of Quincy Street for several months.
Darlene Dorsey, a spokesperson for the City’s Transportation and Capital Improvements department, said there are only a handful of roundabouts around the city, but that they provide benefits to the flow of traffic.
The absence of signal lights at the roundabout will allow for a continuous flow of traffic, she explained.
Additionally, the roundabout adds an element of safety by acting as a “calming device” that allows vehicles to navigate the road at lower speeds. Dorsey said decreased speeds reduce the chance for crashes and give drivers more time to acknowledge nearby pedestrians.
The project, funded by the voter-approved 2012 bond, cost $6 million. In addition to road components such as new curbs and gutters, TCI added infrastructural elements such as landscaping and pedestrian lighting.
The roundabout includes dedicated lanes for cyclists and pedestrians.
Construction will not be entirely completed until July. Until then, North Main Avenue and Camden Street will be inaccessible from the roundabout and work will continue on finishing touches.
Once construction on the project has finished, Dorsey said a public art piece will be added to the middle of the roundabout. Discussions continue on what shape that project will take, Dorsey said, but one thing is certain: “It’s not a fountain.”