Lynchburg takes a roundabout way to improve road safety


For some people, there might be a learning curve.

“When you open a new road like that, it takes a while for people to get used to it, to different traffic configurations,” said Gaynelle Hart, Lynchburg’s Public Works Director. “They’ll get used to it as time goes on.”

She says roundabouts are the safest way to control the flow and keep cars moving, because everyone does the same direction, and there are no left turns.

“The left turns are the major point of crashes.”

City officials kept hearing about crashes, about five in three years, and many more near-misses at the intersection of Yorktown Avenue and Atherholt Road.

“The businesses in the area noticed there was a safety issue with that intersection and contacted us,” said Hart.

They conducted a study and ruled out a four-way stop.

“People either sometimes do not stop or ignore a stop sign,” said Hart. “The intersection is quite large. There was plenty of pavement, so we were able to create this mini-roundabout.”

She says roundabouts are less expensive to maintain over time, compared to stoplights.

While accidents still happen in roundabouts, they’re far less severe.

“Anybody that does have a crash, it’s more of a sideward glance crash and not either a t-bone or a direct hit.”

Construction of the mini-roundabout begins Monday and is expected to last 90 days, weather permitting.

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