Cary hopes to learn from Raleigh's roundabout experience

Posted March 15, 2011 5:14 p.m. EDT
Updated March 15, 2011 6:55 p.m. EDT

— Town officials are considering constructing three traffic circles to speed traffic through the heart of Cary.

Cary wants to install roundabouts on Chatham Street at Durham and Old Apex roads and on Walnut Street at Kildaire Farm Road. The town plans to use an $800,000 federal grant to pay the bulk of the estimated $1 million cost of the project, which could begin next year.

"Anything that can help bring traffic downtown and keep traffic moving in a reasonable manner is going to help us downtown," business owner Sheila Ogle said.

Other business owners also said they are willing to put up with torn-up streets and traffic detours to get the roundabouts in place.

"When they build this, it will be a little inconvenient getting through, but we can live through that because we're going to like it when it's over," said Ralph Ashworth, whose family-owned drug store has been in downtown Cary for more than 50 years.

In Raleigh, construction on Hillsborough Street and Oberlin Road to install roundabouts two years ago disrupted businesses, and the finished product was a little confusing for some drivers. City officials even printed instructional brochures to teach drivers how to use the roundabouts.

"There's a lot of lessons learned on that project, (and) we'll be talking to the folks who worked on that one to make the ones a little smoother over here in Cary," said Todd Delk, a transportation planning engineer for Cary.