The biggest roundabout in Austin will open at the intersection of the southbound frontage of I-35 and 51st Street on Sunday. But first TxDOT will have to close it completely for a few days to put the finishing touches on it – which means getting rid some of the intersection’s main features.
“We’re going to remove the traffic signals," said Diann Hodges, spokesperson for the Austin District of the Texas Department of Transportation. "So, you will no longer come to a stop at that intersection. You will enter that roundabout, and you will circle around and make a series of right turns to get out of the roundabout.”
Austin police and new signage will be in place to direct traffic though the new pattern starting Sunday.
Roundabouts are considered safer intersections because there are no left turns across oncoming traffic. That reduces the possibility of crashes that result in injury or death, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
If the intersection is deemed successful, drivers could be seeing more roundabouts in Austin.