West Chatham Roundabout – First Pictures

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Story and photos by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – The construction of the new West Chatham Street roundabout is coming along nicely. Here are the first pictures of this new and interesting road feature.

West Chatham Roundabout

With one thing and another, we’re always zipping into downtown Cary via West Chatham or Old Apex Road. The construction of the roundabout where those two roads come together has led to some interesting detours.

But I could never quite understand how they were going to put a roundabout (formerly called a traffic circle) in front of the gas station.

Well, the West Chatham roundabout is substantially complete (the access road work continues). You can once again enter the downtown area from the west on Chatham or Old Apex. And it’s a nice piece of road engineering that will make a very good entrance to Cary’s downtown.

A similar roundabout is being built on East Chatham at Durham Road. Maybe we’ll get some pictures of that, too.

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Downtown coverage on CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by Heart of Cary Association. Meeting the first Thursday of every month in Downtown Cary.

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5 replies
  1. Robert Campbell
    Robert Campbell says:

    I’m sure others have the same question as members of my household, that is, WHY? What’s the deal with these things anyway? It’s detailed here: http://www.townofcary.org/Assets/Planning+Department/Planning+Department+PDFs/Cary+Streetscape+Master+Plan.pdf

    Pages 40 and 48 show the details – although elsewhere on the ToC site is info that due to budget, not all details are being implemented at this time, specifically the center of the circle will not done as shown in the master plan.

  2. ScottRAB
    ScottRAB says:

    The FHWA has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhHzly_6lWM ).
    Modern roundabouts are the safest form of intersection in the world. Visit http://tinyurl.com/iihsRAB for FAQs and safety facts. The safety comes from the ‘slow and go’ operation instead of the ‘stop or go fast’ way a stop light works. The smaller size of the modern roundabout is what makes them safer and keeps speeds in the 20 mph range. This makes it much easier to avoid a crash or stop for pedestrians. It also means that if a crash happens the likelihood of injury is very low. Safety is the #1 reason there are over 3,000 modern roundabouts in the US today and many more on the way.
    Slow and go modern roundabout intersections means less delay than a stop light or stop sign, especially the other 20 hours a day people aren’t driving to or from work. Average daily delay at a signal is around 12 seconds per car. At a modern roundabout average delay is less than five seconds. Signals take an hour of demand and restrict it to a half hour, at best only half the traffic gets to go at any one time. At a modern roundabout four drivers entering from four directions can all enter at the same time. Don’t try that with a signalized intersection.

    • Hal Goodtree
      Hal Goodtree says:

      Thanks for the great info, Scott! Stop by and see our roundabouts if your travels take you to Cary, NC.

  3. cary dude
    cary dude says:

    The traffic circles are attractive when landscaped and do slow traffic. They sure beat traffic humps, especially the early, poorly designed humps like on Crabtree Crossing.I doubt that safety was an issue at these intersections.

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