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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Construction begins on Ravensworth roundabout

The roundabout as seen from Jayhawk Street. 

There’s a new traffic pattern on Ravensworth Road as the Virginia Department of Transportation has marked off the area at the Jayhawk Street/Fountainhead Drive in Annandale where a temporary roundabout will be installed.  

Drivers who want to turn left from those streets onto Ravensworth will have to go around the circle. The project is expected to be completed in June. 


The roundabout is a pilot project funded by the Federal Highway Administration. It will be constructed of recycled composite materials and could be removed if an evaluation shows it isn’t effective. If it is effective, it would become permanent.

What it’s supposed to do is control traffic flow, reduce speeds, and improve pedestrian safety, although it wouldn’t have an impact on traffic volume.


Cars are expected to reduce their speeds to about 15 to 20 mph as they approach the roundabout and would yield to traffic already in it. Four vehicles would be able to enter the circle at the same time and would all go in the same counterclockwise direction. As a result, cars wouldn’t be piling up as they wait to get through the intersection.

The mini roundabout would cost about $175,000, compared to $300,000 to $400,000 for a signalized intersection.

8 comments:

  1. I think traffic circles are normally used on less busy roads than Ravensworth. During rush hour, there is quite a bit of traffic. Of course, it will remain in place forever since VDOT's definition of "effective" and others may be different.

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    1. I have seen traffic circles work (effectively) on the equivalent of interstate highways in Europe. Also throughout DC, this seems like an excellent place to try one out.

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  2. This is still preferable to being stuck at a traffic light late in the evening when there's no traffic, The light at the intersection of Sleepy Hollow and Kerns Roads is a prime example of that. - Sparky

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  3. Traffic circle can be very useful. They painted the lines and left a sign that says 'new traffic pattern' - complete failure by VDOT to do a proper job.

    Drivers drove right over the painted circle lines. Took a couple days before they decided to put the barrels up. I'm surprised there weren't accidents.

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  4. Already seeing problems with this circle. I drive this a couple of times a day, at minumum. Traffic seems to be backing up on Jayhawk more than usual as cars on Ravensworth properly slow down to go through the circle. The issue is the slowing cars creates fewer gaps between cars making it harder for side street cars to get in the circle flow. We'll see what happens but not off to a good start.

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    1. Today's update. Now folks get into the circle and yield to cars not in the circle. If people don't know the rules of the circle, this will never work and arguably make the situation that the County is trying to solve worse.

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    2. Update May 24: This morning Cars got into the circle and then yield to cars not in the circle. Creating more traffic than before and more chance for accidents.

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  5. I think that comparisons between the circles in DC or Europe (which are full sized) and this (which is mini) are not valid. MD/PG county uses these...head south on Oxon Hill Road past National Harbor during rush hour and see how well these mini ones work. They are basically the same as putting 4 yield signs at the intersection. Horrid idea that i'm guessing will make traffic worse.

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