It's finally open. Traffic started to flow on Fulton's first roundabout Friday afternoon.
Police reported Friday there had been no accidents on the new roundabout. They are touted as much safer than intersections with traffic lights.
About 60 Fulton area leaders gathered on a cold Friday morning for a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at the newly constructed $1.7 million traffic circle.
After the morning ribbon-cutting ceremony, traffic began flowing across the intersection Friday afternoon once barricades and equipment were removed.
Fulton's first roundabout realigns the intersection of Business 54 and Second Street. The roundabout accommodates traffic flow one way in a counter-clockwise direction around a central circular island. Drivers about to enter the roundabout yield to vehicles already in the roundabout.
Two bridges over Stinson Creek were demolished and replaced with a large culvert running under the roundabout. One bridge carried north and south Business 54 traffic and the other carried Route O and Second Street traffic east and west of the intersection.
A traffic light at the intersection also was eliminated.
A walking trail along the creek under the roundabout also was retained in the culvert. The concrete surface is slightly higher on the south side of the culvert so the trail can be used when the creek is not high.
Fulton Mayor Charlie Latham said the center of the roundabout probably will be landscaped with evergreens that do not require much maintenance.
"For safety reasons, we want to discourage all foot traffic on a roundabout. That's also why we want low-maintenance and low-growing landscaping in the roundabout. We don't want to have anything out there that would attract or encourage foot traffic to the center circle of the intersection. We also want to keep our maintenance workers safe by using low-maintenance landscaping," Latham said.
The mayor said he is thankful that a Callaway County contractor received the bid and hired local workers to complete the project.
Eric Schroeter, assistant district engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation, presided over Friday's dedication.
He said the design consultant for the roundabout was Bartlett and West Engineers of Jefferson City. The general construction contractor was Sam Gaines Construction Co. of New Bloomfield.
"I want to thank Gaines Construction for meeting the tight deadline, for advancing the project to get traffic flowing," Schroeter said.
He said a few other details remain to be completed but the main work to permit the resumption of traffic has been completed.
Also attending the ribbon cutting ceremony were Kingdom of Callaway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nancy Lewis, Chamber Ambassadors, Fulton Director of Administration Bill Johnson, Callaway County Presiding Commissioner Lee Fritz, Western District Commissioner Doc Kritzer, and Eastern District Commissioner Gabe Craighead.
"I think the roundabout is great. I was excited about it from the start. It's a beautiful perspective coming down the hill into downtown Fulton. It's a great addition to our city," Kritzer said.