Fredericton drivers should start getting used to navigating around roundabouts because the city is planning to add more traffic circles in the coming years, according to a traffic engineer.
The city’s first roundabout opened two years ago at Brookside Drive and West Hills Crossing and its second will open soon at Two Nations Crossing and Cliffe Street.
Construction will start next month on the city's third traffic circle. The roundabout will be be at Bishop Drive and Lian Street.
Darren Charters, the city’s traffic engineer, said the roundabouts are more expensive to build but they are worth the added cost over the long term.
"We don't have to replace parts, the maintenance is a lot less. Controller cabinets at traffic signals, you have to replace that every year, which is pretty expensive," he said.
"So they even out in the end and it's just the up-front cost is a lot more for a roundabout."
Charters said roundabouts cost $250,000 compared to $85,000 for basic traffic lights.
But with no maintenance and operation costs for roundabouts, he says eventually it balances out.
The city’s traffic engineer said these first roundabouts are simple, one-lane structures. He said Fredericton drivers become more accustomed to them, more complicated ones will be built at busy intersections.
"They're coming to Fredericton. They're here. You're going to see more of them," Charters said.
Coun. David Kelly said he’s looking forward to the "modern" roundabout coming to his ward.
"Roundabouts are a safer, greener and more efficient alternative to traffic signals," he said in an email.
"I am pleased with this, especially with the increase in traffic that has happened with all the new development in this area."