Pictured is a still from an animation created by Caltrans of the new “turbo roundabout” intersection at Highways 25 and 156 in San Benito County. Photo courtesy of Caltrans/Youtube

All lanes are now open at the new “turbo roundabout” intersection at Highways 25 and 156 in San Benito County. The California Department of Transportation released a how-to video on Youtube—in both English and Spanish—advising travelers how to approach and navigate the new intersection, which is the first of its kind in California. 

The roundabout has been under construction for more than a year, and replaces the previous red-light control system at the busy intersection. Caltrans said the previous Highway 156/25 intersection configuration had seen twice as many collisions as similar intersections in California in recent years. 

The new multi-lane roundabout with raised lane separators and abundant signage is designed to keep traffic flowing in all directions and reduce the number and severity of collisions, according to Caltrans. 

In recent weeks, Caltrans crews have completed the project with final paving, installation of signs, striping final lane configurations and placing directional markings in the pavement. 

The new “turbo roundabout” project at the intersection of Highways 15 and 156 includes abundant signage as motorists approach. Photo courtesy of Caltrans/Youtube.

All travelers are asked to slow down, adhere to the new signage, and remain alert. Caltrans said in a press release, “Travelers should continue to yield to vehicles already inside the turbo roundabout, enter the roundabout when there is a safe gap in traffic, and maintain an appropriate distance between their vehicle and others in the roundabout.

“A turbo roundabout is much like a regular roundabout but has additional safety features designed to reduce the potential for collisions, including three-inch lane dividers that guide users throughout the roundabout and discourage lane changes. Additionally, the turbo roundabout lanes have been designed to accommodate the largest trucks approved for highway travel.”

Caltrans posted a three-minute educational video describing how the new roundabout works, in English at http://tinyurl.com/5n6cn27p; and in Spanish at http://tinyurl.com/47snjxpm. The videos can also be found on the San Benito Council of Governments website at http://sanbenitocog.org/transportation-updates/

The turbo roundabout project at Highways 25 and 156 cost about $10.9 million. The contractor for the project is San Jose-based Graniterock. 

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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