A transportation rarity has come to Oro Valley.

Town officials plan the official dedication of a now-completed traffic roundabout at the intersection of Hardy Road and Northern Avenue on Monday, July 19.

Fans of 1980s cinema may get visions of Chevy Chase in "National Lampoon's European Vacation" driving endlessly around a London roundabout and saying "Look kids, there's Big Ben, Parliament."

The single-lane roundabout in Oro Valley should prove less daunting to local commuters than the multi-lane interchange the Griswolds found themselves circling.

Because roundabouts might be alien to many motorists in the Tucson area, town officials want to notify drivers of a few challenges the new edition might create.

Most important for drivers to recognize is that cars already in the roundabout have the right-of-way. Oncoming cars attempting to enter the circular path must yield.

Another peculiarity is that all turns off and onto the roundabout are right turns. Drivers should signal their intention to turn — exit, really — off the roundabout.

Pedestrians also have the right-of-way at the five crosswalks circling the roundabout.

The town spent $675,000 to build the 160-foot diameter traffic circle. A roundabout was chosen, in part, because the configuration of roadways would have made using stop signs or traffic signals a challenge. That's because the north-south alignment of Northern Avenue sits slightly askew, causing motorists before the roundabout installation to veer to the right.

The same held for east-west traffic along Hardy Road, where the road didn't directly intersect at Northern.

Added to the complication, Camino de Anza meets Northern at the same location. Jetting off at a 45-degree angle, Camino de Anza runs into a collection of horse properties.

According to analysis dome by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, roundabouts can dramatically reduce the incidence of traffic collisions at intersections.

Since 2007, there have been nine traffic accidents at the intersection, according to information provided by the Oro Valley Police Department. Two of those collisions resulted in injuries.

The speed limit around the five-legged roundabout will be 15 miles per hour.

The ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday, July 19.


The "Golden Rule" of Roundabouts: YIELD

• All motorists entering a roundabout must yield to circulating traffic

• A good way to remember this rule is "Wait for the Break"

• The right-of-way is observed at the yield sign. You need to slow down or stop to yield to any traffic

approaching you from the left

• Emergency vehicles always have the right-of-way. If an emergency vehicle enters the roundabout, pull over immediately to the right, exiting the roundabout if possible

• Pedestrians have the right-of-way when entering a crosswalk

• When you encounter large trucks, give them plenty of space

• Remember, all turns are right turns

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