WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — The new roundabout on M-11 in Walker opened late Tuesday afternoon.
The roundabout, located at the intersection of M-11/Wilson Avenue and Remembrance Road, has been under construction since April. It is the first on a state road in Kent County, and is also notable because of its size, with a diameter of more than 100 feet.
“This is a really big deal for the city of Walker; for the residents, to keep them safe,” Mayor Mark Huizenga said on Tuesday. “We know that this intersection had really complex geometry before. The elevations made it a bit more challenging. Some people may not like the idea of a roundabout because they don’t like change, but ultimately it’s about the safety of our residents.”
The Michigan Department of Transportation says roundabouts are safer than traditional intersections because they slow traffic and reduce conflict points where there is the potential for a collision. MDOT says serious and fatality accidents have been virtually eliminated at roundabout sites around the state.
The M-11 roundabout also has a raised mound in the center island to prevent drivers from looking into oncoming headlights. Moving forward, the island will be beautified with greenery.
MDOT reminds drivers using the new roundabout to slow down, watch for and take directions from signs, and be patient.
>>Inside woodtv.com: How to navigate a roundabout