The Texas Department of Transportation hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday for the newest roundabout in Austin, located at Interstate 35 and 51st Street. Wednesday's ceremony marked the opening of the roundabout's second lane.

KVUE's Anavid Reyes got a closer look at why this roundabout is actually better than a four-way intersection and how it's working out for cyclists and pedestrians.

"This is part of our Texas Clear Lanes project," said Diann Hodges with TxDOT. "The Texas Clear Lane project actually addresses the most congested roadways in the state of Texas."


TxDOT opens roundabout at 51st Street and I-35

There only eight conflict points in a roundabout compared to 32 in a four-way stop intersection. This makes the new roundabout design much safer.

Compared to your normal intersection with lights, the roundabout is expected to reduce overall crashes there by about 35 percent.

But have you ever used a roundabout before? TxDOT said Austin drivers will need some time to get used to the change. Here are some tips and tricks to get you through safely:

  • Yield to vehicles already in the roundabout
  • If two or more vehicles approach a roundabout at the same time, you must give way to the vehicle on the left
  • Signal your intent so people know when you are exiting the roundabout

Construction of another roundabout is not in the books for Austin at the moment. But TxDOT said they're going to see how the roundabout at 51st Street plays out before considering how to improve other Austin intersections.