By Shawn Kirkpatrick
Mayor Gary Fuller, along with Opelika city officials, cut the ribbon and officially opened the new roundabout on Frederick Road Monday. This is the third and final phase of the Frederick Road project that began in 1990. The single-lane roundabout is designed to handle tens of thousands of cars a day without a stop signal.
“We are so excited. We would like to thank everyone for being patient while detours were in place,” Fuller said. “This extension and roundabout is going to be a great conduit to downtown.”
City Engineer Scott Parker explained that the roundabout will improve the flow of traffic from Tiger Town to downtown, and the new landscaping and pedestrian facilities will also create a gateway to the area. “With the continuing improvements to the sidewalk, resurfacing and lighting all the way down Auburn Street and ML King Avenue, the neighborhood and drive will be completely transformed.”
Here are some tips for driving in a roundabout: look for cars in the circle to your left. If there are none, proceed taking a slight right along the circle. If there is a car, stop to let them pass. Vehicles in the circle have the right of way.
The benefits to the neighbors in Ward 1 is what City Council President Patsy Jones said is an added plus. “We are redoing the sidewalks where they can walk from here safely downtown. We are hoping in the next month or so, all the sidewalks will be finished,” Jones said.
“The roundabout also beautifies the community and brings it together, especially with the new trees and flowers.” Billy Edwards of the Opelika Tree Commission was selected by Fuller to be the first person to drive the roundabout. “I was shocked when he asked me to be the first person to drive through. I said I would do it. I’m just a regular citizen,” Edwards said.
The roundabout is now open to all citizens.