They are different from what we normally encounter when we drive anywhere across the state of Minnesota. But in a recent study released by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the state’s nearly 200 roundabouts are reducing serious injuries and saving lives. That’s one of the reasons why Beltrami County is adding four roundabouts along a short stretch of Division Street in Bemidji.
With Bemidji’s first real roundabout nearing completion, the county has been taking many questions as to where the next roundabouts will be built and why they are needed.
In Brainerd, three roundabouts were constructed in 2012 and since then, the area has seen an uptick in traffic. Officials say it’s a learning curve that takes some getting used to.
MnDOT says that there was a 42% reduction in injury crash rates through the use of roundabouts. As they become more common across the state, officials expect more people to prefer the use of roundabouts.
With only the finishing touches remaining on Bemidji’s first one, construction on three more roundabouts are scheduled to be built late next spring.
All that remains to be completed on Bemidji’s first roundabout is the installation of lights, and pavement striping, weather permitting.