Jason Bond 540-387-5493

SAL 81-6

Nov. 5, 2009

The new roundabout is expected to improve traffic flow

SALEM – On Thursday, Nov. 5, the first roundabout in Roanoke County is expected to open on Route 720 (Colonial Avenue) at the intersection with Route 687 (Penn Forest Boulevard).  The roundabout is part of a larger road improvement project that is designed to improve traffic flow on Colonial Avenue. 

The first phase of the construction project started in June and included the replacement of the Route 720 bridge over Mudlick Creek with a 72-inch pipe, the installation of the roundabout, utility work, paving and grading.

Subsequent work will include the straightening of curves on Route 720 (Colonial Avenue) and realigning the intersection of Route 720 and Girard Drive, as well as some grading and drainage work.  The project is expected to be completed in August 2010.

Roundabouts have been shown to reduce fatal and injury crashes by as much as 75 percent.  The reduction in crashes is attributed to slower speeds and reduced number of conflict points.

Roundabouts have also been found to increase capacity and reduce delays, as intersections with high volumes of left turns are often better handled by a roundabout than a traffic signal.  Additionally, roundabouts eliminate maintenance and electricity costs associated with traffic signals, which could possibly be as much as $5,000 per year per intersection.

VDOT offers the following guidelines for driving in roundabouts:

Right turns

  • Slow down and prepare to yield as you approach the roundabout.
  • On the approach, you must be in the right lane (if it is a dual lane roundabout). 
  • You must yield to the traffic already in the roundabout.
  • Stay to the right as you approach your turn.
  • Place your right turn signal on until you have exited the roundabout.

Straight ahead

  • Slow down and prepare to yield as you approach the roundabout.
  • Unless signs or lane markings indicate an exclusive right turn, approach in the right lane and stay in that lane through the roundabout.
  • If this is a two-lane roundabout and the right lane is blocked by dense traffic or a road obstruction, approach and continue through the roundabout in the left lane.
  • You must yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
  • Display your right turn signal just past the exit before the one you plan to use.

Left turn or U-turn

  • Slow down and prepare to yield as you approach the roundabout.
  • Enter the roundabout in the left lane (if it is a two-lane approach) and stay in that lane throughout the roundabout. • You must yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
  • Signal your turn just past the exit prior to the one you will use.


  • Always yield to pedestrians who may be crossing the road as you approach the roundabout.
  • Always watch for pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcyclists.
  • Buses and trucks may need more than one lane to enter or leave a roundabout. Keep clear of them.
  • Always yield to vehicles that are in the roundabout.

Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Oct. 17, 2012