Crews are configuring the final pieces on the new roundabout at a Santa Barbara intersection that sees about 18,000 vehicles a day.
The single-lane roundabout at Las Positas Road and Cliff Drive is expected to ease congestion and and be finished in late April.
Traffic is now circulating counterclockwise around the raised island but there is more work to be completed including curbs, gutters, sidewalk, paving and streetlights on the south and west sides of the roundabout, said Derrick Bailey, the city’s principal traffic engineer.
Roundabouts often result in fewer traffic delays compared to a traffic signal at intersections where the entering traffic volume is less than 20,000 cars a day, according to Bailey.
“Even though the roundabout is not fully complete, we’ve already noticed a significant reduction in traffic delay,” Bailey said. “When collisions happen at roundabouts, they tend to be at much lower speeds than traffic signals, so the likelihood of injury is less.”
The total project cost including design, construction and construction inspections is about $2 million, Bailey said.
The state provided $750,000 of the project funding and the rest came from the city, which approved the project in 2013.
“Construction costs for roundabouts are generally higher than traffic signals,” Bailey said. “Long-term maintenance costs are usually lower for roundabouts, and there are also savings to the public regarding traffic delay and less severe collisions.”
The project includes an enhanced pedestrian crosswalk between Alan Road and Arroyo Burro Beach and the outside of the roundabout will feature wide sidewalks that can be shared by pedestrians and low-speed cyclists, Bailey said.
High-speed cyclists are likely to circulate the roundabout with traffic, he added.
Additionally, there will be ramps for cyclists to enter and exit the sidewalk area from the road.
Before the roundabout, it was a three-way stop sign intersection, and the city will conduct a before-and-after traffic delay evaluation plan in the fall.
The city is also working on more bike paths in the area, including a path along the west of Las Positas Road that will start at the roundabout and end near Modoc Road.
That project is in the design and environmental stage, and doesn't have funding yet, Bailey said.
Another long-term plan includes a bike path along the south side of Cliff Drive from Mesa Lane to Arroyo Burro Beach, he said.
“The roundabout has been designed with connectivity and compatibility to both of these future bike paths in mind,” Bailey said.