North Road Roundabout Coming, What You Should Know

Fenton, MI — August 7, 2019

It seems roundabouts are popping up in Michigan more frequently. If you have not heard the local news, the intersection at North and Torrey Roads is being converted to a roundabout this fall.

Drivers seem to either love them or hate them. For sure, not everyone understands their purpose and proper use. Here is a primer on what you should know about Michigan roundabouts.

North Road Project

Construction has already started on Phase 1 of the project at North and Torrey Roads. North Road, between Oakwood and Poplar Street, is currently being repaved.

Lasco Press Photo

Drivers can still navigate the area as at least one lane of traffic is being maintained during construction. The project includes installation of a water main, as well as curb and crosswalk upgrades.

Lasco Press Photo

Phase 1 is expected to be completed before the Labor Day weekend. After Labor Day, Phase 2 the portion of the project that includes the roundabout begins. The project is expected to wrap up sometime in November.

Lasco Press Photo

The intersection is adjacent to 2 popular Fenton eateries, The Barn and Beale Street Smokehouse BBQ.

North Road and Torrey Road Intersection / Photo Courtesy of Google Maps

While the road work is a temporary inconvenience, the benefit of improved traffic flow should be worth short delays over the next few months.

Why Roundabouts Instead of Conventional Traffic Signal Intersections

According to the Michigan Department of Transportation(MDOT) there are several advantages to the use of roundabouts.

“A roundabout is a circular intersection design increasingly being used by MDOT. While some people use the term “roundabouts” and “traffic circles” interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Here’s how they differ: roundabouts are typically smaller than traffic circles, and drivers must yield to vehicles already in the roundabout before entering.”

Roundabout overhead view. / Photo Courtesy of MDOT

“Roundabouts have been proven to safely decrease traffic delays and congestion. When selected and designed correctly, roundabouts can handle a high volume of traffic, including commercial trucks and large emergency vehicles. Roundabouts can cost less than traditional signalized intersections.”

How to Use a Roundabout

MDOT has published a number of help guides to familiarize drivers with the proper use of roundabouts. Here are written instructions and a video that explains the proper use of a roundabout intersection.

Roundabouts are easy to navigate and safer than traditional intersections. Remember, traffic in the roundabout always moves counterclockwise.

  • Choose your lane before entering.
  • Yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • Indicate your exit by using your turn signal.
  • Use signs and pavement markings to help guide you.
Roundabout signage. / Photo Courtesy of MDOT

Roundabout Safety

Traffic intersections are dangerous places, whether they are controlled by signs, a signal, or a roundabout. Drivers should educate themselves on the particulars of roundabout usage as the trend of adding more roundabouts to Michigan roads is expected to continue.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration publishes additional information on the subject. Follow this link to their roundabout safety page.

Drive Smart, Drive Safe! See ya around town.