Roundabout may cause learning curve for move-in drivers


Brianna Schreurs

Those returning to campus may have to experience a learning curve as they drive on the new roundabout that intersects University Boulevard and Jackrabbit Avenue.

Construction on the three-legged roundabout began in May and was completed Tuesday, Aug. 14.

The roundabout will make a busy, high traffic intersection safer, said David Law, director of project management and engineering for Facilities and Services.

“That intersection was honestly so dangerous in the way it was set up with all the turn lanes and the bad traffic and the pedestrian crossing,” he said.

Roundabouts are statistically safer than traditional three- and four-way intersections, according to the South Dakota Department of Transportation director of planning and engineering Mike Behm.

Nationally, they reduce fatalities 90 percent and reduce injuries 75 percent, according to Behm.

This will be the second roundabout in Brookings.

“… There’s a lot of people that aren’t used to them. It’s the second one in Brookings, but this one will be highly trafficked. It’ll be a learning curve for a lot of people for people who have never driven on one. It doesn’t take long to get the hang of it,” project manager Reed Leibel said.

On Aug. 1, the University Police Department made a Facebook post to help drivers on a roundabout. And drivers expressed some worry.

Other commenters expressed excitement.

University and Marketing released a video to help Jackrabbits drive safely.

The roundabout is a part of the University Boulevard Improvements which redeveloped the area of campus due to the new Performing Arts Center, the new Frost Arena practice facility and the redeveloped parking area.

“Not everyone likes change. From our [Facilities and Services’s] stance, it’s a good change,” Leibel said.