Drivers going in circles at Hoback roundabout
By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
September 3, 2012
One of the first roundabouts in Wyoming opened Aug. 30 in Hoback Junction.
Wyoming Department of Transportation District Engineer John Eddins said Friday afternoon that he hadn’t heard of any reports of crashes.
“For having never had one in the area, we were pretty tickled with it,” said Eddins, who watched traffic, including several tractor trailers, navigate the roundabout safely shortly after it opened at about 3:30 p.m.
Eddins thinks there are only four other roundabouts in the state. The other ones were recently installed in Cheyenne.
The circular traffic feature replaces the old Y-shaped intersection where Highways 26/89 and 189/191 converge. It is supposed to handle traffic more efficiently and make for a safer environment for drivers. Roundabouts also are supposed to be safer and more efficient than traffic signals, he said, and are cheaper to maintain.
The old intersection was built at a time when more cars were coming to Jackson from Pinedale. Now, more travelers use the highway from Alpine.
On Thursday afternoon, a few motorists were slightly confused, Eddins said. For the majority, though, the traffic circle worked well.
Cars entering a roundabout are supposed to yield to vehicles already in the feature. If drivers encounter an emergency vehicle while in a roundabout, they should pull to the right and let the emergency vehicle pass.
WYDOT has information about roundabouts at DOT.state.wy.us. Click on roundabout education under the tab for news and information.
Construction crews still have to finish several details at the site over the next couple of weeks, including more signs and painted traffic stripes, among other items. They had been trying to complete the roundabout by the end of last fall. An ordering problem for rebar last summer delayed the project.
The structure is part of a $25 million project that also includes a new bridge over the Snake River just south of the roundabout. The bridge has stalled because of a contract dispute between WYDOT and Wadsworth Brothers Construction. The two sides are still working through a dispute resolution process, Eddins said Friday.