ROCHESTER, Pa. (WKBN) – While Boardman’s roundabout is just opening, the traffic circle in Rochester, Pa., has been in place for two years.
Borough managers wanted to solve a serious traffic problem at an area known as the hub, where five of the busiest roads in Beaver County come together in one central location. By having a traffic circle there instead of a traditional intersection, city planners said they were able to cut back on congestion by 80 percent.
“Before the project was built, it was basically one of the biggest bottlenecks in the county. And it was part of the overall vision to allow the transit agency, which gets about a million riders a year, to be able to capitalize on the fact they get a million riders a year. This was an impediment to the development in the surrounding area,” project manager Scott Thompson-Graves said.
People avoided the town and the confusing intersection caused accidents.
“With the traffic signals there, people would abuse the red light, yellow light, trying to get through because they have waited so long,” Rochester Borough Manager John Barrett said. “It was horrendous. We had a number of traffic signals there and it all came into one intersection. I think we had like six roads trying to come in through one intersection. Traffic lights there was a nightmare.”
Thompson-Graves said education is key to having traffic flow smoothly.
“We had developed some videos to show people how to drive it. We developed some fliers for truckers to show truckers how to drive through it. Pretty much we thought it would take people about two months to get used to it. Really it took about two weeks,” he said.
Barrett said the only accidents on the traffic circle have been minor fender benders. The Rochester project took two years to complete.