By MARY-ANN BARR
A new roundabout — part of a $12-million City of Red Deer improvement project — is expected to fully open in Red Deer later this week.
The 67th Street and Johnstone Drive roundabout is a first of its kind in Central Alberta because the road surface is built concrete instead of asphalt.
Concrete was used because cost, longevity and performance of concrete over asphalt came out ahead, said City of Red Deer acting Engineering Services manager Niki Burkinshaw.
She said there are other examples of concrete roadwork in Alberta, such as along the Anthony Henday Drive in Edmonton.
The new roundabout is part of a two-year project and includes two roundabouts, utility and infrastructure work, and a trail to be built next year to the Edgar Athletic Fields, she said.
Work began on the intersection improvement project in May, and included the larger two-lane roundabout at 67th Street and Johnstone Drive, as well as a single-lane roundabout at Orr Drive and 66th Street.
Burkinshaw said that they are expecting the roundabout to open by the weekend, but it is weather-dependent with directional signage now being installed.
While the roundabout will be fully open, some work will continue over the next month that may require short-term lane closures. The area will remain a construction site throughout the winter with a posted speed limit at 30 km/h.
Drivers should follow these basic steps for navigating two-land roundabouts:
– Slow down and pick your lane.
– As you approach, signal like you would at a regular intersection: signal left if you’re turning left, signal right if you’re turning right.
– Always yield to pedestrians at the crosswalks, whether flashing crosswalk lights are activated or not.
– Look left and yield to both lanes of traffic in the roundabout; only stop if necessary.
– Stay in your lane until your exit; lane changes are not required in roundabouts.
– Signal right as you approach your exit and yield to pedestrians.
Pedestrians are reminded to cross at the designated crosswalks, never through the middle of the roundabout. The 67th Street/Johnstone roundabout has rectangular rapid flashing beacons at the pedestrian crosswalks, but they won’t initially be activated. When crossing, ensure drivers see you, and only cross when traffic has stopped.
More information about using roundabouts is available online at www.roundabout.how.