Central drivers circling round new traffic pattern

CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - Traffic circles known as roundabouts are the new thing on some local roads. They're meant to keep traffic flowing, and keep crashes from happening. Eden Church Road in Denham Springs is supposed to get them, and the City of Central opened its second over the weekend. Driving in circles is taking some getting used to, for some people.

Yield, slow and go. Those are the three directions officials with the City of Central are passing on the drivers, who are confused about the new roundabout on Sullivan Road.

"As you approach the roundabout, you have to yield to any vehicle that is already in the circle. Traffic in the circle has the right-of-way," said David Barrow, with the City of Central. Barrow says a traffic study found more than 8,000 cars, buses and 18-wheelers use Sullivan daily.

Once the new Central School Complex opened, a better travel plan was needed.

"That's the whole point. It makes overall intersection efficiency better," Barrow said.

Kahne Hamilton lives houses down from the roundabout. She says before, getting from Gurney Road to Sullivan took several minutes. Now, the wait is just seconds.

"Sometimes it used to be a while...let the traffic go by, so I could get out and turn. Now it's easier to get out you know," she said.

Barrow says the city was given the choice of either a roundabout or a traffic light at that intersection. They say a traffic light would have bottled everything up, unlike the circle which seems to be moving the cars along; although, some drivers are still figuring things out.

"I did get behind somebody the other night...put their blinker on to turn left and stopped like what do I do? How do I get over there?" Hamilton said.

Barrow says after watching cars use the roundabout Monday; they found older drivers slow down when using it, sometimes too slow. But younger drivers tend to go too fast, Barrow said.

He also noted the amount of signage in the area. That's something the city will take a look at next - whether there is too much that could be confusing drivers.

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