ROCKER – Motorists in the Butte area will soon have a new way to navigate a busy intersection – a roundabout.
“This will be the first roundabout in the Butte-area proper. However, there are several within the district. The first we built several years ago in Montana City,” said Bill Fogarty with the Montana Department of Transportation’s Butte District.
This roundabout will be built at the Rocker interchange just west of Butte and north of the interstate near the Flying J truck stop. Studies show roundabouts have many benefits.
“It keeps traffic flowing rather than as opposed to stopping in all directions intersection so it reduces emissions, it reduces the conflict points at the intersection, so it reduces severity and number of crashes, types of crashes. It improves pedestrian safety,” said Fogarty.
So the way this roundabout would work instead of traffic having to stop at this intersection, it would just continue in a circular fashion so motorists can choose to get off on the frontage road, get back on the interstate or even head south into Rocker without ever having to stop.
“We’ll definitely see more of these in the future as we move forward and folks will realize the benefits with them,” said Fogarty.
Some local motorists are not sure what benefits the new roundabout will bring.
“People are not used to change, obviously in this area, and they like to after a while, they get used to it. We can’t do nothing about it; it’s already in progress, so we ain’t going to stop it,” said Butte resident Craig Burt, who stopped at the Rocker interchange Friday.
The $6 million project is expected to be completed by November.
-John Emeigh reporting for MTN News