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The Evolution of Roundabouts in Newfoundland


Roundabouts have become increasingly common on Canada’s roads since the 1990’s, however, Newfoundland and Labrador has been slower to adopt roundabouts as a means of intersection control. Today, roundabouts remain fairly new and somewhat controversial to Newfoundlanders. Major news was made in 2014 when a traffic calming circle was removed on Old Topsail Road in St. John’s. News headlines were referring to the traffic circle as a roundabout and had a damaging effect on the perception of roundabouts in the region.
The first modern roundabouts in Newfoundland were constructed at the NLL Recycling’s Robin Hood Bay Waste Management facility. Two single-roundabouts were built to improve site circulation for residential and commercial vehicles entering the facility. While these modern roundabouts being constructed were a significant milestone, since the roundabouts were not constructed on the public road network, it did not contribute significantly to the profile of roundabouts in Newfoundland.
It was only 2014 that the Town of Paradise built the first roundabout on the public road network at the intersection of Karwood Drive and Kenmount Road, one of the busiest intersections in Paradise. The resulting traffic impact of the construction of this multi-lane roundabout has acted as a catalyst to roundabout development in the Avalon Peninsula. The roundabout served as an example to surrounding municipalities and residents of the benefits of roundabouts by significantly reducing delay at the congested intersection.
As a result, a number single-lane and multi-lane roundabouts have been constructed in the last three years by the City of St. John’s and by private developers. As these new roundabouts on the Avalon Peninsula continue to demonstrate the benefits of roundabouts, their popularity continues to increase and is spreading towards more rural parts of Newfoundland. Many municipalities have requested that preliminary designs be completed at some of their busiest intersections. Some of these include the City of Corner Brook, Town of Grand FallsWindsor, Town of Paradise, Town of Marystown, Town of Torbay and Town of Bay Roberts.
With the current economic condition in many Newfoundland communities, the municipal decision-makers are recognizing the fact that roundabouts can create a multitude of benefits, most noteworthy, long term cost savings over constructing other types of intersections.
This paper strives to outline the past, present and future of roundabouts in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. There are unique challenges that exist in the Province with respect to implementation, acceptance, and education which must be explored and discussed in order to understand the optimal way forward to growing a roundabout program in the Province.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Geometric Design – Emerging Issues
MacDonald, M.
Allaire, F.
Geometric design