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Roundabouts: Confusing for Some in the Corridor

MOUNT VERNON, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--Roundabouts are a way traffic planners can both slow down speeders, and keep traffic moving.

The US department of transportation says the alternative intersections are making things safer.

In a study of roundabouts across the country, the DOT says annual crashes drop 51 percent for single lane roundabouts and injuries dropped by 73 percent.

For Pat Ouverson, the 10th avenue roundabout is a learning opportunity.

"I use that as a practice area so that when highway 1 and highway 30 opens I'd be a little more comfortable, she said, and after about five times of driving through it.

"Each time it gets better, I feel pretty confident now, she said.

That's the reaction Mount Vernon city leaders are hoping residents will take away from the traffic control design.

"It started with a couple of accidents involving high school kids and I think we should all be concerned about safety, said Mayor Scott Peterson of Mount Vernon.

Mayor Peterson says the project idea began in early 2011, and has gone through four different councils and two mayors.

"We've had a small group of people have been advocating pretty strongly against it even after construction started even till this day and it's unfortunate, he said.

The project costs more than $1 million and the idea is to slow traffic speed and improve traffic backups on highway 1 and highway 30.

Some residents like Ouverson also think it will make the town look better and even bring in more people to the community.

Which is why she says she'll give it a chance.

"I think as we get more familiar with it, it will be okay but right now there's a lot of anxiety about how we're all going to get used to that change, she said.
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