Temporary roundabout installed in downtown Bismarck

Local News

At the intersection of 16th and Rosser, a temporary roundabout has been put in place — and it’s complicating things for some drivers.

The project is funded by a $6,600 grant from the AARP Foundation, with a separate grant going toward enhancing the 16th Street Park.

Cones were put in place to simulate a traffic circle and determine if the new traffic pattern will benefit motorists.

However, those with larger vehicles and those hauling extra cargo on a trailer may run into some issues.

Tanner Frolich, a Bismarck resident, said, “I just own a jet ski, so a jet ski trailer, you’re going to run into issues where your corners are cut too tight, or you’re not having as much room to maneuver the trailer.”

He said it’s not just the length of the car or the trailer that can cause an issue.

“I mean cars are going to move a lot more agile and be able to pick up speed and slow down a lot faster than a person carrying a trailer would,” said Frolich.

Despite the complications, Bismarck City Engineer Gabe Schell says there are mitigations in place, including emergency vehicles that may need to get through.

“If this were to be a permanent installation, that center median island is typically installed, especially in an urbanized compact version like we’re talking about here, with some sort of mountable type curb that if you drove over it with your trailer, as long as you’re going slow enough you’d be able to go through it, same with a fire truck or a school bus, or some of those maneuvers,” said Schell.

Other roundabouts do exist in Bismarck and have proven to be safe, like the one on North Washington.

Now here’s some things to consider when driving through a traffic circle:

First, there are no traffic signals or stop signs, so be sure to watch for oncoming traffic.

There is also no stopping, so do not stop in the roundabout, only yield to the cars that are already in the traffic circle.

Lastly, and arguably most importantly, be sure to signal when exiting.

One factor that’s not often considered:

Schell said, “If there’s a lot of people trying to get through an intersection at the same time there will be a delay, and a roundabout is just a really efficient way to manage that delay evenly across all approaches.”

Feedback from the public is critical in determining whether or not this roundabout will become permanent.

The cones will remain at the intersection until city officials determine if there is a benefit.

Schell said the project should take about two weeks but will be gone “before the snow flies.”

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