Route 58 roundabout unveiled late Monday

04/22/2010 12:00 AM |

Two large signs on Route 58 were mounted Monday to help motorists navigate the new two lanes of traffic in the roundabout.

The two-lane roundabout at the intersection of Route 58 and Roanoke Avenue was opened to traffic late Monday, almost eight months after Suffolk County started overhauling the busy thoroughfare.

The new roundabout is fitted with traffic markers as well as instructional signs at each of the four entrances, including two massive signs to the west and east of the site.

“There is, with these things, a little bit of driver re-education,” said Mark Smith, a spokesman for Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. “Adjustments are going to have to be made as people go through it the first time, the first couple times.

An $8 million widening project on Route 58, undertaken by the county Department of Public Works, began shortly after Labor Day last year and is expected to be finished around Memorial Day, providing two lanes in each direction from the Expressway to Ostrander Avenue. The remake of the traffic circle was needed to accommodate the new wider roadway.

“Just follow the directions on the signs and the pavement markings,” said Bill Hillman, the department’s chief engineer. He also explained why a roundabout is considered easier to navigate than an old-fashioned traffic circle, the previous configuration at the site. Roundabouts have angled entryways, with drivers yielding to traffic on the left, for one thing.

“It’s all about geometrics,” he said.