MODOT is testing a new traffic tool that will hopefully decrease the number of accidents at a roundabout. MODOT says more than 25,000 vehicles a day go through the roundabout at Stones Corner, otherwise known as the intersection of Highway 171 and North Main Street Road.
The roundabout opened in 2014. But earlier this year, MODOT slightly redesigned the roundabout in an effort to increase safety and traffic flow, turning one lane on one side of the roundabout into a right turn only lane.
MODOT now has another idea of how to improve safety and traffic flow.
Makenna Moore manages a doughnut shop at Stones Corner. There's a doughnut-shaped object outside her business, too. Depending on who you talk to, it may or may not be sweet.
"I like it a lot," says Moore with Daylight Express Donuts.
"I had people telling me, oh, we used to come in your store all the time and we miss you guys but we just don't like that roundabout," says Kelly Patterson.
Paterson works at the Subway shop next door to Moore.
Paterson says, "What do you say to that, you know?"
Like the name implies, roundabouts are meant to continuously flow traffic around. Patterson and Moore say the Stones Corner roundabout has worked, for the most part.
"Flow of traffic is so much better," says Patterson.
"There have been some fender-benders in the mornings, during rush time. We've seen quite a few," says Moore.
"Highway patrol, Airport Drive, Jasper County, they were all complaining about the accidents," says Randy Morris with MODOT.
MODOT says during the morning commute, heavy traffic going north on Highway 171 through the roundabout, towards Carl Junction and Pittsburg, circles into heavy traffic going towards Joplin on Main Street Road.
MODOT is using a simple idea to break-up the heavy traffic on Highway 171, near the Sonic restaurant.
"They feel a bump and they slow down," says Morris.
The idea is so simple, MODOT says it seems to be making just the right amount of difference.
"As far as I'm concerned right now, it's working," says Morris.
MODOT says there's no need to add stop lights to the roundabout. Patterson and Moore say there's always a need for more driver awareness, though.
"If people would just slow down and pay attention," says Patterson.
"A lot of people just go and not yield," says Moore.
Moore and Patterson hope that even though the rumble strips may seem like a roundabout fix-it to some people, the solution will be long-lasting.
MODOT workers will next get together and discuss how they thought the rumble strips made a difference. There is no timetable, though, of when these rumble strips would be permanently added.
The number of recent and past accidents at the Stones Corner roundabout is unavailable. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says 2015 accident data from across the area is still being uploaded to computers.
KOAM - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas