Emerald Isle roundabout officially opens

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EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (WNCT) — After months of construction, the Emerald Isle roundabout is officially opening and residents and business owners are happy to be done with the hassle of construction.

The project has been under scrutiny by local citizens who say they don’t want their town to change.

Town Manager Frank Rush said the roundabout is a positive change for the town.

“It’s gonna be a welcome improvement in Emerald Isle,” said Rush. “We’re glad to see it finished and opening up to the public here probably in a couple hours or so. Looking forward to having the detour complete and just having the construction process done and getting things back to normal.”

One issue during the construction was the detour that drivers had to take to avoid the area.

Janel White, owner of Ace Hardware said, “all the businesses have been down the last couple months due to the detour. People don’t want to come over and have to deal with going around the roundabout.”

Brandon Rigsbee, owner of The Growler bar that sits next to the roundabout, said he’s looking forward to seeing the outcome on his business.

“Everyone’s I think excited to see what’s going to happen,” said Rigsbee. “We’ve got a lot of people for and a lot of people against it but now that it’s done I think everyone now is just anxious to see how it shakes out.”

The DOT said opening up the roundabout should relieve some of the concern of local businesses.

“I think that they will be glad to have this road back open and people being able to come straight through,” said Mary Beth Houston, NC D.O.T district engineer.

The traffic patterns will take some getting used to… but should be stable by the time the busy season starts.

The D.O.T plans to convert the rest of the town’s traffic signals into roundabouts too, but town manager Frank Rush said they will take it slow and see how residents react to this one first.

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