The City of Conway plans to construct six new roundabouts over the next several years.
There are currently 24 roundabouts around the city. They are so prevalent that Hendrix College has a page on its website explaining to its students how to properly use roundabouts.
Four of the roundabouts will be installed along Donaghey Avenue between Prince Street and Dave Ward, according to THV11.
Director of Conway’s Street and Engineering Department Finley Vinson told THV11 that the City of Conway plans to conduct studies on traffic at the intersections of College and Farris, Tyler and Salem, and Prince and Country Club. This will help the city determine locations to place the incoming roundabouts.
Construction on the four roundabouts on Donaghey will begin in 2019 and last around three years. The construction on the remaining two roundabouts will start around 2020 and 2022, Vinson told THV11.
Many Conway drivers love roundabouts because of their safety benefits.
“Roundabouts are safer than traffic signals,” Vinson said.
He told THV11 that Conway has never had a fatality in a roundabout.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, “compared to other types of intersections, roundabouts have demonstrated safety and other benefits.”
The FHWA also stated that roundabouts cause a 90 percent reduction in fatalities. One reason for this is because they help prevent head-on and high-speed right-angle collisions.
The FHWA also reported that roundabouts provide a 76 percent reduction in injuries and a 35 percent reduction in all crashes.
Roundabouts are safer for pedestrians because the cars in traffic circles are traveling at slower speeds, according to the FHWA report.
In addition to promoting safety, roundabouts also help relieve congestion on roadways.
“For quite some time we believed that College [Street] would need to be widened because of the congestion there, but we replaced the signal with a roundabout and we’ve seen congestion in that area almost completely go away,” Vinson told THV11.
Bobby Kelly, communications coordinator at the office of the mayor, told THV11 that other cities in Arkansas are looking to Conway to see if roundabouts are effective at aiding traffic flow.
Senior Erin Street believes roundabouts are efficient.
“They make driving around Conway easy,” Street said.
Not only are roundabouts time efficient, but they are fuel efficient as well.
Roundabouts are more fuel efficient than traffic lights. According to the FHWA, fewer stops and hard accelerations, and less time idling reduce pollution and fuel use.
Junior Executive Vice President of SGA Sophie Barnes said she is excited about the new roundabouts because she believes roundabouts benefit society.
“I think they are useful in society and a better alternative to four-way stops. They are safer than traffic lights and more time efficient,” Barnes said.
Photo by Lauren Swaim