Updated 10/21/2012 05:21 PM
Driving in circles in Horseheads
In an effort to make the roads safer in Chemung County, the New York State DOT is making changes to two busy intersections. Katie Husband explains why roundabouts are becoming a popular way to handle traffic.
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HORSEHEADS, N.Y. -- Driving in circles? Get used to it because two intersections along Route 13 in Horseheads are changing. You're not sitting at a traffic light anymore when you cross Franklin Street or Route 223. The goal is to fix a dangerous and sometimes deadly problem.
"These two intersections at these locations have higher than expected accidents when we compare them to other signalized intersections around the state," said Brian Kelly, Acting Regional Director for New York State Department of Transportation.
Intersections turned into roundabouts. The New York State Department of Transportation said going the roundabout way is the safer route according to studies.
"Reduce the number of fatal accidents by about 89 percent, severe injury accidents by about 76 percent and reduce the total number as well by a lesser number," said Kelly.
If you're not used to pulling up to a circle, Kelly has some rules of the road.
"So, you approach the yield line, you wait because at the yield point the traffic in the roundabout has the right of way. Once you get into the roundabout, signal for your exit and leave," said Kelly.
Roundabouts reduce three things: the speed of drivers, the severity of an accident, and the number of conflict points in an accident. Large trucks are able to navigate through the circle by using the truck apron, if necessary.
"Track across that truck apron, the raised curb there to get through. But, I think you can see that most large trucks don't even need to do that," noted Kelly.
The construction on each roundabout will be completed by the end of November.