Newest Hwy. 7 roundabout is a mess

From: Paul Otte
Hutchinson
Congratulations are in order for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. They have got to be awarded first prize for the worst roundabout on the planet.
Yesterday, my wife and I drove into Minneapolis and had the distinct trauma of driving through the new roundabout (traffic circle) at the intersection of State Highway 7 and Carver County Road 11. MnDOT obviously subscribes to the theory that the more lines you paint on the road, the better it is. However, too many lines can distract drivers and cause accidents.
Highway 7 is a two-lane road. Carver  County Road 11 is a two-lane road. But at some points, the new roundabout has three lanes in it, with more confusing arrows painted on the surface than the entire city of Hutchinson. (I’d like to have the road line painting concession in Carver County. I need some extra cash for a Jamaican vacation.)
When we passed through eastbound, my wife and I were both astounded at the confusion presented there, and commented, “This is an accident waiting to happen.” It wasn’t a long wait. On the way home, an hour later, there were at least seven police cars and sheriff’s vehicles there with lights flashing and swarming with uniformed personnel crawling all over it like mice in the corncrib.
Don’t get me wrong. I love roundabouts. I’ve easily navigated them in England, Germany, New England, and now in Hutchinson. They’re great. The basic principle of using a roundabout is clear and simple: The guy in the roundabout has the right of way and be sure to signal your turn to exit when there’s enough space between exits.
Roundabouts keep traffic flowing through dangerous intersections, rather than wasting gasoline and polluting the air by putting up stop signs and stoplights. They also eliminate the high-speed T-bone crashes that my wife and I experienced on Highway 7 two weeks ago.
But this fiasco on the newly opened section of Highway 7 is something else altogether! If it had been designed and built by a private company, that company would be sued and bankrupted within the week, and the designers would be summarily fired. I guess that doesn’t happen at the state level. My advice: Use US Highway 212 or State Highway 5.
This letter originally appeared in the Hutchinson Leader newspaper.

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