New Brunswick

Here we go again: North side of Fredericton gets its own roundabout

Brace yourself Fredericton: Another roundabout is expected to open its lanes to traffic on the city's north side next week.

The new roundabout will connect Two Nations Crossing to the Ring Road

The province's plan for a new roundabout, which is expected to open on the north side of Fredericton next week. (GNB)

Brace yourself Fredericton: Another roundabout is expected to open its lanes to traffic on the city's north side next week.

The latest roundabout will allow people to travel east and west on the north side, connecting Two Nations Crossing to the Ring Road in both directions.

"It's going to be tremendous for traffic flow on the north side," said Jon Lewis, a traffic engineer with the City of Fredericton.

"It's going to provide much more direct access off the Ring Road, to and from the Ring Road to Two Nations Crossing, to Cliffe Street."

The roundabout, which was under construction for several weeks during the summer, is a provincial government project but the city collaborated and helped design it. 

The city is also trying to educate the public before it opens.

Traffic engineer Jon Lewis expects more roundabouts to pop up across the city in coming years. (Gary Moore/CBC)

The province has said Route 105 from Brookside Drive to the Westmorland Street Bridge experiences significant traffic congestion during peak periods.

The roundabout is supposed to improve safety and traffic flow, reduce travel delays, congestion, queuing and idling.

Jeremy Trevors, a spokesperson with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, said the roundabout will cost about $3.8 million.

Follow the rules

But anyone familiar with the Smythe Street roundabout should have no problem with the latest roundabout, Lewis said.

The rules are exactly the same.

"It's really critical when people are going into a multi-lane roundabout that you yield to all traffic already in the circle," Lewis said.

Another key lesson for drivers is to choose a lane correctly before getting into a roundabout.

"If you're making a left turn you should be doing that from the left lane, if you're making a right turn, from the right lane," he said.

"If you're using a through movement, you can do it from either lane."

Round and round 

The Smythe Street roundabout opened in September 2015 and gave many drivers a headache in its first year. 

The city has seen between one or two reported collisions each month at the Smythe Street roundabout, but Lewis described them as minor.

"In fact, the Smythe roundabout was the busiest (highest traffic volume) intersection in the City in 2017 that did not experience any collisions that resulted in personal injuries," he said in an email. 

The roundabout on Smythe Street opened in September 2015. (CBC)

"The Smythe Street roundabout was a game changer in terms of traffic movement in the uptown," Lewis said.

"That combined with the upgrades made the following year at Regent and Prospect Street … it gave people more options about how they got around the uptown."    

Lewis said there are a number of potential roundabout sites that will be discussed at future transportation committee meetings in Fredericton.

Trevors said other locations being considered by the province for roundabouts include the Brookside Drive and Princess Margaret Bridge areas.

"Both projects will be considered as part of future budget planning," he said.

With files from Gary Moore