An experiment to better regulate traffic flow near W Road and Business 54 in Lake Ozark appears to be working.

An experiment to better regulate traffic flow near W Road and Business 54 in Lake Ozark appears to be working.

Beginning last May, MoDOT redirected traffic in the area by creating a mini-roundabout which now moves traffic in a circular flow.

Interim Police Chief Mark Maples said there have only be a couple of minor accidents at the intersection, which now features a mini-roundabout painted on the roadway’s asphalt surface.

“As the season comes to an end, I think the trend of few accidents will continue. I’ve heard a lot of concerns, but it does appear to be working, in my opinion,” he said.

Area MoDOT Engineer Bob Lynch said all the necessary signage has been in place about a month, and from his perspective “I think it’s working well also.”

One of the safety enhancements was to lower the speed in the area, and that appears to be working, he explained.

The roundabout eliminated the stop sign at Route W and Business 54. The center of the roundabout is flat to allow big trucks and vehicles pulling trailers to make the turns without hitting a raised surface.

Lynch said during a press briefing in mid-May that safety issues and congestion were the primary reasons for the all-yield intersection. Previous methods to control traffic did not reduce the number of accidents.

There is now a free flow of traffic movement in a counterclockwise direction to help eliminate right-angle accidents.

While this intersection is a little bit different than some because it has three legs instead of four, the roundabout operates the same.

Here’s how it works: Vehicles approaching the roundabout will make a right turn and move in a counter-clockwise direction through the intersection. All entering traffic yields to the traffic already in the circle.

Because the roundabout is designed to allow for the free flow of traffic, congestion and delays are reduced. For example, if there is no traffic in the circle you do not have to stop, thereby reducing your delay time. In addition, the roundabout decreases the number of spots where vehicles could collide — such as left turns — which reduces the chance for crashes.

In the past five years, the Route W and Business 54 intersection, which carries an average of 7,000 to 11,000 vehicles a day, has been the site of more than 40 crashes — mostly left-turn collisions.

Fortunately, none of the crashes has resulted in fatalities or disabling injuries.