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Franklin gets new roundabout to ease traffic at intersection

A mini-roundabout that will improve safety and traffic flow opened this week in Macon County before two nearby schools return to class.

N.C. Department of Transportation safety officials determined a mini-roundabout at the intersection of Wells Grove Road and Bellview/Clark’s Chapel Road would best serve the drivers for school pickup and drop-off times at Mountain View Intermediate School and Macon County Middle School. The safety benefits of the traffic-calming structure will also benefit the general public.

The school system asked NCDOT to evaluate options for how best to improve the operation and safety of the intersection.

“This small project should provide big dividends for drivers to and from school as well as those who drive through the area on a daily basis,” Division 14 Traffic Engineer Steven Buchanan said. “Roundabouts are not a new technology, but they may be new to some drivers. They are easy to use, help move traffic and provide safety benefits unavailable with stop signs or signals.”

Roundabouts are installed to improve safety for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. They help reduce congestion and backups associated with stop signs and traffic signals.

A mini-roundabout uses a smaller footprint, thereby, reducing property impacts near the intersection. The construction project allowed crews to remove the stop signs on Bellview/Clark’s Chapel Road.

NCDOT published an informational page on roundabouts. Some of the tips include the following:

•    Remember to give larger trucks and buses extra room, as they might need to straddle the lane

•    Big trucks should use the concrete island — called the truck apron — to maneuver around the roundabout

•    Never enter a roundabout while an emergency vehicle using flashing lights and sires is passing through

•    Drivers should not pass a bicyclist while inside the roundabout

For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.

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