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BEC Engineer: Roundabouts Reducing Traffic Crashes

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MANKATO, Minn -

They're designed to keep traffic moving, but aside from 'rounding' off square intersections, officials say roundabouts are also impacting safety.

Some drivers approve them...

"I like them a lot," said Damon Williams of Mankato.

While other drivers say roundabouts can make their head spin.

"I think right now they're very confusing, I've seen lots of people turning the wrong direction," said Holly Holland of Janesville.

"We went from none to three (roundabouts) overnight here, literally, with the three of them opening this summer," said Alan Forsberg, Blue Earth County engineer. "The one with the most traffic of course is the one at Victory and Stadium Road."

Roundabouts, according to Forsberg are making a difference.

"Before the roundabouts, there were two T-intersections, and both those intersections had a number of crashes, and some serious crashes," Forsberg said.

Despite some complaints from drivers, Blue Earth County officials say roundabouts such as this one are cutting down on crashes.

"Since the new roundabout has opened last fall, there have been no crashes that I am aware of," said Forsberg.

But some drivers say the revolutionary intersections have caused frustration.

"I'm very luck because the roundabouts haven't been busy," said Holland. "I'll be thinking I need to turn one way and I'm really turning too quickly, so I'm able to get into the other lane and make that, but if it was a busy roundabout, I would be stuck going off."

Blue Earth County officials say they're planning to build four new roundabouts on county road 17 this summer.