Route 66-themed roundabout in El Reno begins construction

A Route 66-themed roundabout began construction Thursday at the intersection of Route 66 and U.S. 81 in El Reno, Oklahoma.

According to a report in the Yukon (Okla.) Progress:

“Work is scheduled to take about a year-and-a-half, weather permitting, and should be complete ahead of the Route 66 Centennial (in 2026),” ODOT spokesman Bryce Boyer said. […]

“Barring any unforeseen circumstances, there will be at least one lane open (in) each direction during construction,” Boyer said. “The exception being on S.E. 27th St., which will be closed to thru traffic.

“However, there will be some temporary closures that require a detour as crews shift lanes between construction phases – and we will make sure to put out a notice to drivers before those closures.”

The cost of the roundabout will be a little more than $10 million.

According to a report by KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, the state’s Department of Transportation said 14,000 cars drove through the intersection last year. In 20 years, that number is estimated to reach 24,000.

Many people don’t like roundabouts — at least until they drive on them regularly. Roundabouts are proven to improve traffic flow, improve safety and promote safer driving speeds.

Transportation officials in Missouri have built a lot of them in the last 15 years or so. When I was a resident of the Show-Me State, I noticed even big skeptics of roundabouts became converts over time.

(Artist’s rendering of a forthcoming roundabout at Route 66 and U.S. 81 in El Reno, Oklahoma)

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