Columbia considers building roundabouts on Nifong Boulevard

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COLUMBIA – Columbia residents voiced their opinions to representatives from the city's public works department Tuesday about two proposed roundabouts on Nifong Boulevard.

Columbia Public Works plans to build one roundabout at Sinclair Road near Mill Creek Elementary School and another at Country Woods Road, where Nifong becomes Vawter School Road. 

Currently the two intersections both have four-way stop signs.

"Roundabouts are safer than putting a signal in there," Columbia Public Works Engineering Supervisor Allison Anderson said.

Eric Gilbert, who lives near the sites of the proposed roundabouts, said they needed to make the traffic flow safer and more efficient than the current four-way stop.

"It's based on the honor system, and people in a hurry don't do very well on the honor system," Gilbert said. "If you're in a big hurry and you're late to pick somebody up, or late an event or late to a function, you kind of skip ahead if there's a bunch of people all congested at the four-way stop."

The roundabouts are part of the 10-year capital improvement project, which voters approved in 2015.

Anderson said the city is working with the school to ensure traffic flow remains safe for students, teachers and parents.

She also said she has not received any complaints about the proposals from Columbia residents.

The roundabouts are not expected to be completed until 2019. 

The total expected cost for the two roundabouts is $2.45 million.

Anderson said half the intersection will be closed during construction, allowing traffic to still flow through it.