February 11, 2016

Bill could put the brakes on new roundabouts

Traffic roundabouts have been a source of frustration for many drivers, although they have also helped to improve safety and traffic flow at busy intersections. One lawmaker thinks the state should be a little more wary when proposing them as a part of highway reconstruction efforts, and he wants to give local leaders more of a say over if they can be used.

The bill being circulated by state Representative David Craig (R-Big Bend) would require the Department of Transportation to get local government approval before it could add traffic circles to state highway projects inside a municipality. Craig says such projects will have the biggest impact on the individuals living in those communities, so they should “have the ultimate say-so.”

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:11)

Craig says the DOT does work with local officials when the traffic circles are proposed, but the decision is currently still left up to the state. The Big Bend Republican says the bill is not for or against roundabouts, but he thinks the DOT should make every effort to inform local leaders about the benefits of their use and then leave the decision up to them. If given all of the information, he believes those officials will make the right decision.

The bill is being circulated at the Capitol for cosponsors and has already picked up bipartisan support.

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