Senior staff writer
Motorists have had a few days to figure out how to navigate Greenwood’s new roundabout at Smith Valley Road and Madison Avenue. The multiple-lane roundabout is designed to alleviate congestion and improve safety for motorists and pedestrians in the heavily traveled area that has been riddled with congestion for years.
On a daily average, about 24,000 vehicles use Smith Valley Road; 18,000 use Madison Avenue. However, the traffic pattern is new to motorists traveling east and west on Smith Valley and north and south on Madison, especially those seeking to go north or south on U.S. 31.
• No left turns onto U.S. 31 from Smith Valley Road (eastbound or westbound)
• Motorists connecting to U.S. 31 will either use the new “jughandle loop” (eastbound traffic) or the new roundabout (westbound traffic).
• Left turns onto Smith Valley will continue from U.S. 31.
Signage is posted for eastbound Smith Valley motorists desiring to go north or south on U.S. 31. Motorists southbound on Madison may enter the roundabout to enter Smith Valley or go to U.S. 31. Part of the second phase of construction – Meridian Street – remains closed due to improvements at the intersection with Smith Valley Road.
The stoplight at the intersection will remain in use. Greenwood city engineer Daniel Johnston emphasized that construction workers will be on the scene until both phases are completed. “The roundabout will reduce traffic delays, backups and increase safety for this heavily trafficked intersection,” he stated in a news release.
Meanwhile, Johnston issued a few reminders for motorists unfamiliar with the new roundabout:
• Reduce speed while approaching the roundabout.
• Look to the left before entering.
• Yield to traffic in the roundabout.
• Use signal light when exiting. The project’s cost is $2.88 million; Greenwood’s share is 20 percent (about $57 million) with the Federal Highway Administration funding the balance.