North Carolina Roundabouts
Roundabouts.  Over the past decade, you may have seen these become more common throughout North Carolina.  Originally, many were found in shopping centers or within residential or apartment developments.  But since 1999, the North Carolina Department of Transportation has built many roundabouts at intersections throughout the state.  Some people may call them 'traffic circles', but they are not.  Unlike traffic circles, or rotaries as they are called in the Northeast, roundabouts give the right-of-way to traffic already in the circle.  Roundabouts have replaced many four way stops or dangerous intersections throughout North Carolina.  Some are even located at the end of exit ramps from freeways.  Roundabouts are designed to keep traffic flowing through an intersection with the goal of shortening often frustrating backups and wrecks.

Below are some examples of various roundabouts throughout North Carolina.  If you have examples of other roundabouts in North Carolina, please e-mail me.  Note: Please do not include roundabouts found in shopping centers or residential neighborhoods.

Roundabout at Waxhaw-Indian Trail and Potter Roads; Union County.  Photo taken by Stan Schwartz; November 11, 2006.
Roundabout at Kendrick and Gaston Day School Roads; Gastonia.  This roundabout replaced a dangerous intersection in a growing area of Gaston County.  You are looking down Kendrick Road in the photo.  Photo taken by Lyndon Young.
Roundabout along Wesleyan Drive; McAdenville.  Wesleyan Drive connects the town of McAdenville to Wilkinson Blvd. and also Cramerton.  Photo taken by Lyndon Young.
Roundabout at Fraternity Church and Hope Church Roads; Clemmons.  One of the state's first roundabouts, it opened in 1999. (1)  Formerly a three way 'T' intersection, the roundabout was built with a fourth leg accessing Clemmons Middle School.  This is an example of a standard roundabout.  Photo courtesy of James Dunlop, NCDOT.
Roundabout at NC 801 and I-40 (Exit 180); Advance.  This roundabout was completed in 2002. (1)  It replaced a traditional one way stop that was for traffic exiting I-40 East.  The teardrop shaped design is usually found at interchanges because of the one-way traffic flow of the on and off ramps.  Photo courtesy of James Dunlop, NCDOT.
Roundabout at Styers Ferry Road and Utility Drive; Clemmons.  A traditional roundabout; however, it includes dedicated right turn lanes.  These two channelized lanes allow the motorist to make a right turn without entering the circle.  The round about was also built with a wider diameter to allow for large truck traffic, as the photo shows.  Photo courtesy of James Dunlop, NCDOT.
Roundabout on Turfwood Drive; Bethania.  Here is an example of a roundabout with three legs.  Notice that this roundabout also includes a residential driveway.  Photo courtesy of James Dunlop, NCDOT.
Roundabout along Williams Road; Lewisville.  A four legged roundabout with one twist.  There is a an exit only off slip for traffic going to the US 421 freeway.  The roundabout opened in 2000. (1)  Photo courtesy of James Dunlop, NCDOT.
Roundabout at Pullen Road and Stinson Drive; North Carolina State University; Raleigh.  This ground level shot shows how pedestrian features are built into roundabouts.  Pedestrian crossings are built away from the actual circle.  The roundabout opened in November 2002. (1)  Photo courtesy of James Dunlop, NCDOT.
Roundabout along Biltmore Lake; near Asheville.  An example of a low volume roundabout with three approaches.  Photo courtesy of James Dunlop, NCDOT.

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  • Sources & Links:

  • James Dunlop
  • Stan Schwartz
  • Lyndon Young
  • (1) Roundabout Inventory Database  ---Kittleson & Associates
  • Roundabouts: An Informational Guide ---Federal Highway Administration

  • Page Created: May 13, 2006
    Last Updated: October 20, 2007

    © 2006-07 William Lawson