WOOLMARKET, MS (WLOX) - It may not be a typical intersection for South Mississippi drivers, but roundabouts are becoming more common.
It's a bit different than a stop sign or traffic signal, but the engineers with the Mississippi Department of Transportation hope drivers will quickly learn what it takes to safely navigate a roundabout.
"So, it's another tool in the toolbox for traffic flow, especially in busy intersections," said MDOT engineer Kelly Castleberry.
One busy set of intersections are in Woolmarket at the ends of the interstate ramps. According to Castleberry, this area was the focus of recent complaints due to traffic backing up onto I-10.
Originally, there were stop signs at the ends of the ramps for traffic coming off the interstate. A study showed the area didn't meet the requirements needed for a traffic light, so Castleberry said this was the best solution.
"A roundabout allows a yield movement in all directions to ease into the intersection and do continuous flow," said Castleberry.
The design of the circular intersection reduces the need for complete stops, even though a complete stop is still necessary at times. Vehicles entering the intersection must yield to traffic already in the circle.
"Once inside the traffic circle, the motorist inside that circle has the right of way," said Castleberry.
Castleberry understands this new intersection could present a bit of a learning curve for drivers, but he's confident that with time and practice, the driving public will come to appreciate the benefits.
"Usually takes anywhere from 21 to 30 days for a motorist to form a habit. So, as motorists begin to use it and they understand it, it will get better," said Castleberry.
Another roundabout is in the works for the intersection of Lamey Bridge Rd. and Hwy. 15 in D'Iberville. There is no timeline for that project yet.