An intersection considered to be the most dangerous in Fredericton is set to be turned into a roundabout later this year.
The provincial government is spending $4.6 million to turn the four-way intersection at Brookside Drive and Ring Road into a roundabout, with work beginning in June, and expected to be finished by late November.
"It's a very significant project," said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Jill Green, noting Ring Road is a provincially designated highway, making it the province's responsibility.
"There is a real safety concern at that intersection, there's congestion issues at that intersection, and it's been a top priority for the City of Fredericton for a number of years, and so they are thrilled that we're going to undertake that project this year."
Tyson Aubie, traffic engineer with the City of Fredericton, said the intersection has been the scene of dozens of collisions in recent years because of the speed at which vehicles travel through it.
"This is probably the most dangerous intersection of the city for severe collisions," Aubie said. "So these [collisions] are the ones that put people in the hospital."
In a followup email, Aubie said there have been 25 serious collisions at the intersection since 2016.
Unlike the intersection, which uses traffic lights to decide who has right-of-way, the roundabout will force all users to slow down and yield to vehicles approaching from the left before being able to travel through it.
Aubie said that will in effect reduce the severity of any collisions that happen there.
"So there will still be collisions but it's expected to be very minor. Usually, the speeds are around 30 kilometres an hour, entering in and travelling in the roundabout."
Once finished, the roundabout will be the ninth built in the city, not including small traffic-calming circles, Aubie said.
Last year, the city finished its newest roundabout at Waggoners Lane and Rookwood Drive.
And more recently, the city's Victoria Circle roundabout — built in 2019 — was named international roundabout of the year by the United Kingdom's Roundabout Appreciation Society.
Expect traffic disruptions this summer
Green said the province will begin the tendering process to select a construction company in the coming months.
Once work begins, she said, a variance will be made to Ring Road to allow traffic to continue to move along it for the duration of construction.
Brookside Drive, however will be cut off where it meets Ring Road, and drivers will have to take detours to get from one side to the other, Green said.
"It's going to have really positive impacts once the project is complete," she said, noting close to 25,000 vehicles pass through the intersection daily.
"And I ask people to be patient while we're doing the construction, knowing that a little bit of pain will give us a lot of gain on the north side."