In 1972, a shortened version of the song Roundabout was a big hit for the English progressive rock band Yes. (Who remembers that oldie-but-goodie?) Today, roundabouts are increasingly becoming Polk County hits for traffic intersection engineer-designers and the motorists now using them.
As defined by the Washington State Department of Transportation, “A modern roundabout is a circular intersection where drivers travel counterclockwise around a center island. There are no traffic signals or stop signs in a modern roundabout. Drivers yield at entry to traffic in the roundabout, then enter the intersection and exit at their desired street.”
Roundabouts, or “traffic circles,” have been used for decades in large European cities (you’ve likely seen them in scenes from old movies), but they’re really only catching on now in a big way in the United States. An article on the city of Lakeland blog site states that “Compared to other types of intersections, roundabouts are designed to improve safety, reduce congestion, and reduce fuel usage.”
Since the middle of 2015, three roundabout intersections have been constructed in Polk County and opened to motorists. One is at the intersection of Lake Hollingsworth Drive and Hollingsworth Road in Lakeland, one is at State Road 17 and Hunt Brothers Road (County Road 17B) in Lake Wales, and the other is at Deen Still Road and State Road 33 in Polk City.
Working with Fort Myers-based Wright Construction Group, Tucker Paving Inc. had a major role in the construction of the Lake Wales roundabout. And recently, we were pleased to see that the Florida Department of Transportation had produced and released a nice testimonial video about the project. The video features Ellis Hunt Jr., president of Hunt Bros., Inc. (Florida’s Natural Growers), who talks about how welcome the roundabout has been to his company and the drivers of the company’s citrus-hauling semi tractor-trailer trucks.
The video, which shows really well what a traffic circle is all about and how the design improves safety, can be found and watched from the Tucker Paving Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/tuckerpaving/, or you can watch it from YouTube at https://bit.ly/28Y6Mkc.