SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - There is a big change about to happen in the city of San Augustine.
The mayor says there's been a traffic circle at the intersection of State Highway 21 and U.S. Highway 96 for at least 100 years. However, beginning next week, it will go away.
The community's long wait for a safer intersection is now over.
The Texas Department of Transportation describes traffic circles, like the one motorists find west of San Augustine as obsolete.
"There's a lot of yielding and people that aren't familiar with the area maybe don't know which direction they're trying to travel so they're just getting confused as to which direction to go," said Shannon Ramos, an assistant engineer with the Texas Department of Transportation.
Motorists will receive clearer directions once a signalized intersection is constructed at State Highway 21 and U.S. Highway 96. San Augustine city and county leaders have been lobbying for the improvements since before 2011, but the inability to contribute toward the $3.9 million dollar project delayed progress.
"They asked that we put in some money so they could get started a couple of years earlier, but we didn't have it so we had wait until TxDOT came through with the budget," said San Augustine Mayor Leroy Hughes.
State legislators helped push the project through, while at the same time wanting to protect the businesses located around the circle.
"The county level, the state level, and the contractor will do everything that they can to minimize inconvenience," said Dawn Glover, the district coordinator for State Senator Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville.
Businesses will receive concrete islands to identify driveway openings near the intersection. Construction plans include four-way signals, dedicated turn lanes, a safer approach, a bicycle lane, sidewalks, and curb and gutter with storm drains.
Once construction begins, motorists should be prepared to encounter "rumble" strips, barricades, safety cones, and barrels in the work zone. A four-way stop will also be installed during the construction phase.