New Brunswick

Up to 7 more roundabouts coming to Fredericton

Fredericton may get a lot more roundabouts if council approves a plan laid out by the traffic engineers at city hall.

City staff cite safety, operating costs as benefits of roundabouts

Five roundabouts, including the one at the top of Smythe Street, have already been built in Fredericton. (CBC)

Fredericton may get a lot more roundabouts if council approves a plan laid out by the traffic engineers at city hall.

The proposal calls for up to seven new roundabouts within city limits.

These would be in addition to the five roundabouts already in the city — two on the south side and three on the north side.

Fredericton is getting seven new roundabouts. What do you think of them? 1:25

There are also a few much smaller speed reduction features that force drivers to take a circular route at intersections, like the one at Charlotte and Church streets, but are not considered full roundabouts.

Jon Lewis, the traffic engineer for the city, said the projects are still in the early stages and still need approval from council.

"There's a number of locations that we're looking at, very preliminary stages in some cases," he said. 

"Certainly, some great opportunities for roundabouts."

Location, location, location

A map of existing roundabouts in the city (blue) and proposed roundabouts (red.) (Google Maps)

The proposed plan would see three roundabouts on the north side at.

  • Royal Road and Barton Crescent.

  • Brookside Drive and Ring Road.

  • The north end of the Princess Margaret bridge.

There would be four new roundabouts on the south side at.

  •  King, Smythe and Brunswick streets.

  • Waggoners Lane and Rookwood Avenue.

  • Lincoln and Dunns Crossing roads.

  • On Route 8, next to the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital.

Safety first

Traffic engineer Jon Lewis says roundabouts 'provide significant safety benefits.' (CBC)

While Lewis said the rationale for roundabouts is location-specific, safety is a major consideration.

"In general, roundabouts do provide significant safety benefits," he said. 

"You slow traffic down and you reduce angle type collisions … you're reducing speeds, which makes it safer for pedestrians."

One example the city cites is the one-lane roundabout at the intersection of Cliffe Street and Two Nations Crossing in St. Mary's.

In the five years preceding the construction of the roundabouts,from 2007 to 2012, there were 38 collisions and 17 injuries.

In the succeeding four years, 2012 to 2016, there were only eight collisions and two injuries.

A mock-up of the proposed roundabout at the intersections of Smythe, King and Brunswick streets. (City of Fredericton)

While there was no intersection at the Smythe Street roundabout, other than a merge lane going on and off from Smythe to the west bound lane of Route 8, there are still promising statistics.

There are "typically about two … collisions per month," staff said in a presentation to the city's transportation committee, and it's the "busiest intersection where nobody has gotten hurt."

"Generally we're seeing that people are driving [in] them correctly," Lewis said. "So, I mean, it's been a very positive experience up to this point."

The city also released collision statistics for the Smythe, King and Brunswick streets intersection, where one of the new roundabouts would go.

In eight years, there have been 81 collisions and 41 injuries. The intersection is in the top five for collisions in the city.

Coming soon?

The proposed Route 8 roundabout. (City of Fredericton)

Lewis said there is no schedule for when these roundabouts would be introduced, and "they're all subject to future budget considerations."

Three of the roundabouts would also need some co-operation with the provincial department of transportation and infratructure, or DTI, and two would be "fully designed, funded, and constructed by DTI as they are fully within DTI-controlled roadways," said Lewis.

He said the cost of the roundabouts would vary but estimated they would range from $500,000 for a small single-lane roundabout to "multi-million dollars" for the larger, more intricate ones.

But while they may cost more to build, they are cheaper to maintain, since they don't have traffic lights, which cuts down on maintenance and energy costs.

"It was kind of enlightening to hear that," said Coun. Kevin Darrah, chair of the transportation committee.

"Especially the functionality of them during a blackout, where there's no power. I'm sure the residents of Fredericton will definitely appreciate that."

With files from Philip Drost and Information Morning Fredericton


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