New Salisbury traffic circle on track for June opening

Four of Salisbury’s busiest roadways will come together in a new traffic circle.

Construction of a new traffic circle at the end of Riverside Drive is nearing the end, with work expected to wrap up there in about a month.

Motorists will see paving work start there in the next couple of weeks, said Amanda Pollack, the city’s director of Infrastructure and Development, in a PAC-14 interview.

Less traffic on the roads during the state’s coronavirus stay-home order has allowed work on the roundabout to progress at a good pace, she said.

For the past few months, the work has been done in phases that sometimes resulted in shifts in the traffic pattern and lane reductions, but now everything is starting to come together at the intersection of Mill Street, West Carroll Street, Riverside Drive and Camden Avenue.

“Now that people are seeing kind of one side open, the other side open, I think they are starting to slowly get used to it,” Pollack said.

Part of the project will involve relocating the Fred P. Adkins Memorial obelisk from the Downtown Plaza to the center of the traffic circle. That work will take place around mid-month and includes pouring a concrete base for the sculpture, she said.

The 30-foot aluminum monument was removed from the Plaza recently to make room for the city’s Main Street improvements that include new curb, gutter, sidewalks and asphalt street paving in the block that for many years was closed to traffic.

When the obelisk is re-installed in the traffic circle, the intersection will likely be closed for a few hours to allow access for a flatbed truck and a crane, Pollack said.

Construction of a roundabout at one of Salisbury’s busiest intersections got its start in 2017 when city officials paid for a study that identified multiple problems and safety issues, including traffic on southbound Mill Street that backed up all the way to Route 50 during morning rush hour

The study by Wallace Montgomery & Associates presented two traffic circle options: one that was 120 feet in diameter and another that was 150 feet.

The 120-foot roundabout was selected over the larger version because it will have a smaller impact on the neighborhood, Pollack said.

Salisbury officials selected plans for a 120-foot-diameter traffic circle for the Riverside Drive, Carroll Street, Camden Avenue, Fitzwater Street intersection. It will be called Riverside Circle.

Last June, City Council members awarded a $1.48 million contract for the roundabout to George & Lynch, the same firm that is responsible for the ongoing Main Street improvements.

It will be the first inside Salisbury city limits, but Wicomico County residents have become familiar with traffic circles at the Cedar Lane-South Division Street intersection in Fruitland and on Walston Switch Road at the entrance to Wor-Wic Community College

Traffic circles reduce the number of crashes at intersections, as entering vehicles merge with and yield to traffic in the circle, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. They also reduce the types of crashes where people are seriously hurt or killed by as much as 82 percent compared to conventional intersections.

Traffic circles have been used for years in other parts of the U.S. and in European countries.

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