Nearly two years after a student was hit by a car, Century High School’s roundabout is almost complete
(ABC 6 News) – Nearly one week into the school year, new roundabouts in school zones are almost complete.
It is all a part of a new effort to keep pedestrians safe, including students walking to and from school.
Come next Monday, Viola Road near Century High School in Rochester will be completely open as construction crews anticipate finishing the roundabout over the next several days.
Viola Road has been dotted with construction zones throughout the entirety of the summer.
“This project was started right after school got out and was scheduled to be completed right around the start of school,” said Tyler Niemeyer, Rochester’s Assistant City Engineer. “It is a brand new roundabout for this intersection based on some safety issues that came up a couple of years ago.”
Nearly two years ago, it was a close call for one 15-year-old after he was hit by a car in the same intersection as he was crossing the street.
Both city and county officials embarked on a fast track to make this zone safer for students just trying to get to school.
However, the new zone has mixed reactions from the children who cross it.
“It’s pretty pointless, it’s not easily crossed,” said Jireh Antoine. “It’s destined to be doomed pretty much.”
These roundabouts are not just in school zones.
Thirty minutes down the road, many roundabouts are replacing stoplights in Kasson.
“There’s a bit of that curve that slows things down so that’s one thing,” said Mike Dougherty with MNDOT. “The roundabouts are put in for safety first and foremost and then it helps with traffic efficiency.”
Dougherty says while roundabouts may seem confusing at first, they are actually easy to maneuver as drivers get comfortable.
“As you approach, you can check for pedestrians because they’re crossing out front. As a driver, you just need to look left after you clear pedestrians. you get in and then you move through,” said Dougherty.
More roundabouts are expected to be constructed in several more areas including multiple in Rochester, according to Dougherty.