2nd roundabout now open for traffic in Carrboro. Here’s how to drive in one

South Greensboro Street reopened for traffic Thursday following the construction of a roundabout.

The project finished ahead of schedule. The street was closed June 11 by N.C. Department of Transportation and was not supposed to reopen until Aug. 24.

The town Tweeted out the announcement.

“Breathe a sigh of relief ... South Greensboro round-about is OPEN!!!!!! YAY!” it said.

Carrboro transportation planner Zach Hallock said the reopening was good news, with students moving back into town for classes starting next week at UNC-Chapel Hill.

“We’ve got it back open just in time,” he said. “I can’t imagine what it would be like if we pushed if off any longer.”

Traffic had been redirected along N.C. 54 to Jones Ferry Road and then back into downtown while the roundabout was built. That was a two-mile detour. Another route was taking South Merritt Mill Road into downtown.

The roundabout is the second one in Carrboro. The other one is farther south near Carrboro High School after the road changes names to Smith Level Road. Both are single-lane roundabouts, which simplifies their navigation. Cars entering the roundabout yield to others already in the circle. After entering the roundabout, drivers exit at their desired road.

Roundabouts are supposed to be safer intersections because they reduce the severity and likelihood of collisions. Injury crashes were reduced by 75 percent where roundabouts replaced stop signs or signals for traffic control, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Federal Highway Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

A series of roundabouts was recently completed on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh near N.C. State. They were part of a street improvement plan to increase the flow of traffic near the campus.

In Durham, a proposed roundabout announced in April at the intersection of Hope Valley Road and University Drive has generated some resistance from nearby property owners.

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