UPDATE: New roundabout in Roanoke expected to open late Thursday night

The roundabout is expected to open late Thursday night/early Friday morning, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The roundabout was scheduled to open Wednesday night, but an equipment malfunction delayed the opening.


8:15 a.m.: Because of an equipment malfunction late Wednesday night, the new roundabout did not open.

It's not clear yet when the roundabout will officially open to traffic.


Original story from Wednesday, April 17

You may not have seen them yet, but chances are you'll soon be driving through more roundabouts in our area.

There's a newer way to keep the flow of traffic steady. 

Roundabouts are common in larger cities, and now the Virginia Department of Transportation wants more of them here in the valley.

"It's going to reduce traffic accidents.  VDOT's data indicates that it's reduced traffic accidents.  It allows traffic to flow in and out of the intersection very smoothly," said Sergeant W.T. Drake. 

Many drivers are already seeing that.

"They're good for the community.  They're safe and it's easier to get in and get out wherever you need to," said Jason Lachowicz.

But even though the advantages of roundabouts like this one at Riverland and Bennington in Roanoke seem clear, other drivers aren't quite sold.

"They are good for the flow of traffic but they sometimes end up being dangerous because a lot of people don't exactly know how to use them," said Kathy Calliss. 

Law enforcement and VDOT plan to make sure drivers will know exactly how to manipulate these easily.

"Always yield to the left.  So the vehicles that are inside the roundabout and so the vehicles exiting the roundabout have the right of way.  Yield to them and when there's safe space to get in, you can enter," said Sergeant Drake. 

Officials hope these small changes will help keep the community safer and running smoothly for years.

This is one of the first rounabouts in the city.

As of now there are two in Roanoke County and traffic officials have more planned.

VDOT hopes this one will be open and ready for the morning commute.