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Great Barrington once feared a new roundabout. The new learning curve is here

GREAT BARRINGTON — In the beginning, residents took this view of the state’s planned roundabout: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Others told naysayers to stop fighting progress.

Now, four years after residents eyed DOT engineers suspiciously at Town Hall, the long-feared roundabout, seen by some as a symbol of government waste, is with us.

Unfinished though it may be.

It’s all happening in front of the police station at the junction of Main Street and routes 23 and 41, where part of the department’s front yard has been nibbled on through an easement.

“Knock on wood,” said Great Barrington Police Chief Paul Storti, when asked if there have been any accidents, as drivers navigate a new pattern.

No problems yet. But still, it’s new, and it’s round. “It’s going to be a learning curve for everyone,” Storti said.

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The state proposed the roughly $2 million project in 2018 after identifying safety and traffic flow problems at the intersection. They also said a roundabout would help police officers go in and out of the station driveway.

The roundabout is officially slated for completion next June, according to Judith Reardon Riley, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

But Storti thinks the bulk of it will be done by late fall this year. At some point, he said, workers will install temporary barricades to indicate traffic flow, and plantings will be installed, depending on weather.

Right now it’s a dust bowl; paving is imminent.

Great Barrington roundabout

The new roundabout in great Barrington is still under construction, but motorists appear to be handling the new traffic pattern well.

During the work hours, Storti’s officers are out managing traffic.

After they leave, motorists are going around on their own.

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or 413-329-6871.

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