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Byron roundabout opens

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Jacob Talamates of Austin, right, works on the new roundabout by the Byron Marketplace on Tuesday.

BYRON – Motorists raved about the new roundabout at 10th Avenue and Frontage Road in Byron, which opened Tuesday afternoon.

"It sure made my trip easier," said Lance Cordes, of Cordes Construction, after driving around the new roundabout in a pick-up truck towing a long trailer.It's nice and wide and he had no trouble getting around the bend, he said.

"It seems wider than the one at Highway 63," he said.

Public Works Superintendent Greg Rud said the city opted to go ahead and stripe the roundabout and the new lanes from 10th Avenue entering and exiting U.S. 14 to help people get used to the new traffic patterns. Normally striping wouldn't occur until the end of the entire project.

The project also added another left turn lane onto U.S. 14 from 10th Avenue, which will be helpful for commuters, said Rud.

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City Engineer Bill Angerman from WHKS Inc. explained that the new traffic signals at that intersection have "protected" left turn signals.

When a vehicle pulls up to make a left turn onto U.S. 14, the left arrow will come on – in its proper order – for 10 seconds per car. These arrows will enhance the safety of those turning onto the highway, Angerman said. First the north-side drivers will turn and then the south-side drivers.

The next phase of the construction includes from the west driveway of the Market Place plaza to the middle of the road in front of the Subway so one driveway into the restaurant will remain open.

Market Place owner Randy Fogelson emailed that during the next phase, people would be able to get to Market Place businesses from the west by taking the road in front of Brooks Builders and then driving by the Bears Den. He likes the new traffic control device.

"I believe the roundabout is a great solution for this corner. It's designed to handle large trucks and keep a smooth traffic flow."

When council member Jason Snow drove through the roundabout, traffic was moving nicely, he said. "It's a good addition to the area."

Six boys on bikes were riding around the roundabout, too. Sheriff's Deputy Brandon Bornhorst noted that he will make it a point to travel through the area several times daily, just to make sure everything is OK.

Rainy spring weather slowed down the construction timetable seven to 10 days, said Angerman. The project includes rebuilding the rest of Frontage Road to County Road 5 and is scheduled for completion this year.Hazelton Construction of Faribault is the construction firm.

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More information on the project is available at byronmn.com.

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Gretta Becay is a freelance writer.

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