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EUFAULA, Ala. — Blowtorches, fresh paint and months of planning have resulted in a safer intersection for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists in downtown Eufaula. The intersection of North Orange and East Broad streets is now home to a new roundabout at the World War I memorial. This roundabout now features marked lanes, arrows and signage to provide traffic flow instructions for motorists.
These improvement are possible thanks to members of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University’s ALProHealth program, the Barbour County Extension office, the City of Eufaula and Youth Leadership Barbour.
Why a roundabout?
The ALProHealth coalition of city leaders and community members was led by Allie Logan, the Alabama Extension coordinator for Barbour County. The group worked with Alta Planning and Design to create an Active Transportation Action Plan for Eufaula. The action plan included short- and long-term projects based on the complexity and funding associated with each project. The coalition selected the roundabout as a continuation of their work in downtown Eufaula.
Alta is a transportation company that helps to create active, healthy communities through planning, landscape architecture, engineering and educational programs.
Logan said traffic cameras were placed at the top of the Barbour County Courthouse, which overlooks the intersection. She said the footage showed many motorists weren’t sure how to maneuver around the intersection, which resulted in unsafe driving.
“People didn’t know where to stop or where to yield, so this is really going to help the traffic pattern at this intersection,” Logan said.
Ann Sparks, executive director of Main Street Eufaula, said the interaction was difficult to navigate and caused confusion.
“Now that we have a roundabout, we hope traffic will go a little bit smoother,” Sparks said.
It’s in the Data
ALProHealth observed traffic for one week at the Eufaula intersection. This data showed more than 550 incidents where drivers, cyclists or pedestrians were acting unsafe. The data showed several near-crash incidents, individuals moving the wrong way and unsure stops and starts through the intersection.
Jeff LaMondia, an Auburn University civil and environmental engineering professor and ALProHealth partner, said roundabouts provide significant advantages to downtown areas where there is a heavy traffic flow of pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles moving together.
LaMondia said roundabouts slow down traffic and increase visibility for everyone in the intersection. Additionally, he said roundabouts reduce the number of conflicts, especially head-on and T-bone crashes between vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.
“A roundabout is particularly important for this intersection because we have noticed a lot of activity in downtown Eufaula and a lot of cross traffic between vehicles and pedestrians,” LaMondia said. “We need to ensure that they interact safely and use the intersection as intended. Roundabouts are a good way to control that movement and slow everybody down.”
The roundabout was a result of several partnerships throughout Eufaula. The community coalition had many stakeholders throughout the city, including Eufaula City Council members and Main Street Eufaula. Logan said the relationship between the city and Alabama Extension has been great and anytime Extension needed approval, it went swiftly.
“Anytime we needed to come to them for approvals on this project and explain the benefits of it for their residents, they were all for it,” Logan said. “We didn’t have problems getting plans approved by the city council.”
The project was approved by the Eufaula City Council in 2022. Eufaula Mayor Jack Tibbs said in November that he was excited about the added safety the project will bring to the downtown area.
“I appreciate everyone involved in this project for making this happen, including the Barbour County office of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University and the ALProHealth coalition,” Tibbs said. “It’s going to be efficient to move traffic, as well as aesthetically pleasing while making a much safer intersection.”
Sparks said the relationship between Alabama Extension and Main Street Eufaula has been top-notch on several projects in downtown Eufaula.
“Without the help of the ALProHealth grant and the Barbour County Extension office, we would not be able to complete these projects in our downtown area,” Sparks said.
Through the ALProHealth program, LaMondia and the community coalition developed engineering designs that included specialty resin paint that will last for many years and will designate locations on the roundabout.
“It will include bollards, planters and new signage to make it clear how to use this intersection,” LaMondia said. “City workers used blowtorches to lay down thermoplastic tape that is reflective enough that people will see it during the day and at night.”
LaMondia called the collaboration between Alabama Extension, the Auburn Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the city of Eufaula amazing.
“We have worked really well together,” LaMondia said. “The ideas and personnel coming from each of the three entities to make this work has been incredible and is making this a really successful project.”
Driving in a Roundabout
Driving in a roundabout can seem confusing without experience. The following tips may help motorists when approaching a roundabout.
- Slow down when approaching the intersection.
- Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the roadway.
- Watch for signs and pavement markings that guide or prohibit certain movements.
- Enter the roundabout when there is a big enough gap in traffic.
- Drive in a counterclockwise direction. Do not stop or pass other vehicles.
- Use turn signals when changing lanes or exiting the roundabout.
- If you miss an exit, continue around until the correct exit.
ALProHealth is an obesity prevention and reduction program funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) High Obesity Program. Through creating safer places for people to be active and increasing access to healthier food, ALProHealth’s goal is to improve community health in Alabama counties with an adult obesity prevalence of 40% or greater.
For more information about Alabama Extension programing in Barbour County, contact Logan at (334) 687-5688 or email@example.com.