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Roundabouts struggle is real

With the University of Mississippi graduation ceremonies this weekend, many visitors will arrive in droves to Oxford and many may find themselves faced with maneuvering around the Old Taylor Road roundabouts.

City officials are asking visitors to use caution on the roundabouts when coming onto campus off of Highway 6.

The $6.8 million project began in March 2014. The roundabouts were built with the intention of relieving congestion on the Old Taylor Road bridge during peak hours, provide better access for motorists entering or exiting State Route 6 and give pedestrians and cyclists a safer route across the bridge.

While newcomers may find the roundabouts a bit confusing, some local residents are still having trouble maneuvering them as well, said Kelli Briscoe with the Oxford Public Works Department.

“We’ve gotten some messages recently from citizens who don’t understand how it actually works,” Briscoe said. “It can be confusing. When people are trying to get on the highway, the find themselves in the wrong lane and veer in front of people, cutting them off.”

Oxford Police Major Jeff McCutchen said there definitely seems to be some confusion among drivers still on the roundabouts.

“The intersection is still new and at times there is quite a bit of traffic, which for someone new to the intersection can be scary,” McCutchen said. “Our advice is to take your time this weekend and follow the markings that are provided for each lane. If you’re unfamiliar with the roundabouts I would suggest planning a different route prior to arriving.”

MDOT offers the traveling public these tips to safety navigate through roundabouts.

– Always yield to vehicles that are already traveling through the roundabout.

– Make sure you choose the correct lane before you enter the roundabout. Once you enter a roundabout, you must stay in your lane.

– To make a left turn: enter the roundabout, staying in the left lane and make a sweeping left turn three-quarters of the way around the center of the roundabout.

– To make a right turn: as you approach the roundabout, make sure you are in the right lane. Yield to traffic already in the circle. Enter the roundabout and make a sweeping right turn one-quarter of the way around the roundabout, staying to the right of the roadway median as you exit the roundabout.

– To make a U-turn: as you near the roundabout, make sure you are in the left lane. Yield to traffic already in the circle. If no cars are in the roundabout, you may enter. Enter the roundabout, staying in the left lane and make a sweeping left turn completely around the center of the roundabout. Exit the roundabout, staying to the right of the roadway median. Check to make sure there is no traffic in the outside lane before you exit.

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