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Long-anticipated roundabout open for traffic in Sturgis

A roundabout at the intersection of East Lafayette Street and North Franks Avenue, the first of its kind in Sturgis, opened July 13. This view is from Franks, facing north.

By Dennis Volkert
A roundabout at the intersection of East Lafayette Street and North Franks Avenue in Sturgis opened July 13.
It’s the first intersection of its kind in Sturgis.
Construction had been ongoing for the past few months.
To fund the project, the city received a grant from Michigan Department of Transportation for just over $472,000 toward the $765K expense.
Construction had been targeted for summer 2022, but was postponed until this year, in part due to delays in the bid process.
The planning process began in 2020. State road officials had suggested a roundabout for the intersection, as a way to improve traffic flow and reduce vehicle speed near Sturgis Middle School, which is located nearby on Lafayette.
A separate project, extension of Franks Avenue from Doyle Community Center to the roundabout area, is scheduled to continue in 2024.
According to MDOT, although the terms “roundabout” and “traffic circle” often are used interchangeably, they are not identical. Roundabouts typically are smaller than traffic circles, and drivers must yield to vehicles already in the loop prior to entrance.
Safety experts say the frequency of crashes is lower than a traditional stoplight or stop sign intersection. Roundabouts do tend to have a higher percentage of “fender bender” collisions.

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