WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Traffic patterns in West Lafayette will be changing significantly over the next week or two. The first big change has already been made.
After three months of detours, the intersection of Northwestern Avenue and Yeager Road is finally open to all traffic in all directions. But while it's not full speed ahead, with a roundabout in place of a traffic light, more traffic can sail through without stopping.
"It's fantastic, it's been a long time coming," said nearby resident Mathew Maughan.
"I'm just happy it's finally done," added Sarah Rogers.
West Lafayette engineer Dave Buck feels the same way.
"It's been pretty smooth, knock on wood," he said. "I don't want to jinx anything, but folks seem to be adjusting pretty well."
But drivers do need to adjust, especially people who have never driven in a two lane roundabout.
Watch the signs on the road. When you are about to enter the intersection, use the right lane if you are turning right at the next street. Enter using the left lane if you are going to be driving farther.
Buck advises drivers to slow down, know your lane assignments and don't change lanes when you are in the roundabout.
Buck said word traveled fast once the roundabout opened Tuesday.
"I've actually been a little surprised about how much traffic has instantly been using the intersection," he said.
But the real test could come September 1, the first home game for the Purdue football team.
"I don't even want to think about it, but hopefully better than it has been before," Maughan said.
"Hopefully (the drivers) know how to deal with it," said resident Tamri Allen. "Most people know roundabouts, right?"
Either way, it's better than the detour that residents and drivers have been dealing with since mid-May.
"It's been long, it's been difficult," Maughan said.
But Buck said the changes are just beginning. Now that Yeager is open, he hopes that the two-lane left turn from northbound Salisbury onto U.S. 52 will be switched back to a single lane turn lane on Thursday.
Also, the roundabout at Manchester and Cumberland is nearly ready to open, which means the Cumberland/Yeager intersection could be closed within a week to build a roundabout there.
"We're going to switch gears and go to the next place, so there's more to come," Buck said.
Although the recent rains delayed the opening, the Yeager/Northwestern intersection opened about a month earlier than scheduled, thanks in large part to the dry summer weather.
Crews still need to finish walking trails along the road, but that should not interfere with motorists.
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