Roundabout open for business
AND THEY’RE OFF
Photo by Jennifer Bowman
The new roundabout on Taylor Road was expected to open on Thursday night.
BRACEBRIDGE - Motorists should be circling around Muskoka’s first roundabout this morning.
After weeks of delayed traffic and motorists frustrated at waiting in line, the roundabout at Taylor Road and Cedar Lane was scheduled to open around 7 p.m. Thursday.
Craig Douglas, manager of engineering for the District of Muskoka, said they’re excited about it, but hinted they are still sitting on pins to see how it will work.
“We’re certainly excited about it. There’s a certain amount of risk to anything that you do that is new,” he said. “Once it’s opened and running for a week, we’ll all take a sigh of relief when we make sure it works fine, because it’s all been theory so far,” he said.
The roundabout was designed to avoid more traffic lights at the intersection on Taylor Road.
The intersection needed lights, but if they put in more lights, there would be three sets of lights in a row about 250 meters apart each, said Douglas.
Constable Maureen Tilson with the Bracebridge police department said they’re also discussing exactly how it will work.
“We all have questions about how we’re going to draw the accident report the first accident we have in it, but we’re not expecting to have any accidents in it because it’s fantastic,” she said.
“Historically it works, I can’t see it not working here.”
When engineers approved the design, they said roundabouts reduce the likelihood of collisions.
The project cost about $1 million, including the indirect costs such as creating sidewalks and catch basins. The intersection is located where the old Highway 11 used to be, so the district already owned the land. Douglas said the roundabout is usable, but it still needs some ditching and beautifying.
Though the roundabout is a district project, the town of Bracebridge is responsible for landscaping the centre into a “practical, pleasing, gateway look.”
One of the concerns was whether transports would successfully be able to use the roundabout, but so far, the trucks haven’t had any trouble going through one side of it.
There are no plans for more roundabouts in the near future, but Douglas said it will be a consideration whenever they need to put up more traffic lights.
Tilson encouraged people to learn how to use the roundabout before they go on it.
There are how-to sheets at the police detachment and at the Bracebridge library.
There are directions how to use a roundabout on Bracebridge’s website at www.muskoka.on.ca/siteengine/activepage.asp?PageID=547.