New roundabouts coming to Rochester to try and improve safety

(ABC 6 News) – Summer in Minnesota brings a lot of road construction. In the Med City, intersections are being turned into roundabouts.

Officials say the intersection at Viola Road NE and Cassidy Road NE is about to become much safer once construction is complete. In fact, the City of Rochester and Olmsted County have been looking to make changes to this intersection since 2005. Now that the population in the area has been growing leading to more traffic on the road, the City and County both says it’s time to get something done.

“As far as is it safer, does it slow down traffic? I guess the professionals know that stuff,” said Dean Tlougan, who lives down the road from the intersection.

Not only does the City think this will ease traffic, but make it safer for pedestrians. Almost two years after a Century High School student was injured after getting struck by a car, the City hopes the slowdown in traffic from the roundabout will fix the dangerous intersection for all.

In a study, the City found the intersection would be a strong candidate for a roundabout.

“In the morning when the kids go to school there are not allowed to make a U-turn there. They got to pass the main turn and go down to the second turn, but they made that off limits so kids can’t do a U turn there for safety purposes,” said Tlougan.

The access to Viola Road from the northside of the intersection has already been blocked off, but starting on Thursday the access to the road will be closed.

There is a second roundabout coming to Rochester this year. That one is on the intersection of 65th Street NW and 50th Avenue NW. That intersection will be closed starting next Monday.

Construction on a third roundabout on 48th Street SW and Commercial Drive SW will begin sometime in July.