COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The recently opened River Road roundabout in Columbus aims to cut back on traffic. However, some drivers are sharing their concerns about the arrows painted on the road for that roundabout in a busy part of the city.
The River Road roundabout is different than traditional ones because of the number of roads and directions of travel off River Road, according to Donna Newman, the Columbus director of engineering. It’s also very close to Brookstone School.
“This one is a little bit more complex because it does have dedicated right-turn lanes and that’s a little bit different than what people have seen on some of the others,” Newman explained.
We’ve had numerous calls into our newsroom about the arrows leading up to the roundabout being confusing to drivers and potentially leading to bad accidents.
Beth Stokes drives through this roundabout several times a week.
“I think the arrows are a little bit confusing. They make it look like you can almost turn left on the roundabout, which you can’t. You can only turn right. So, I think it’s a little bit confusing for people who either aren’t familiar with roundabouts or who aren’t familiar with this area," Stokes said.
“Two rules of thumb for a roundabout: you always enter to the right so, you’re always going to make a right turn to enter into the roundabout and you’re always going to go in a counter-clockwise flow," Newman said.
Stokes said she’s concerned about a head-on crash.
“I had one friend actually tell me before the lines were, or before the arrows were painted, that she’s already seen someone going the wrong way on it. So obviously, with these arrows make it a little more confusing. That can happen more often," she said.
Newman said while a roundabout may seem a little more confusing, it’s actually safer than an intersection.
“The speed is lower. The angle of impact is less. So, it’s rare that you get severe injuries in a roundabout itself," Newman said.
The director of engineering also said roundabouts move traffic more smoothly than a stoplight, which drivers like Stokes agree with.
“Traffic flow is definitely better. There’s no doubt about that," she said.
Traffic data shows that close to 17,000 cars drive through the area a day.
Newman said there have been several fatalities in that area while it an intersection because of drivers running red lights.