Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Traffic flow changes are scheduled to begin Saturday as part of the ongoing rebuild of 18th Ave. in northwest Rochester.

The city Public Works Dept. says work on Phase One has wrapped up and this means 18th Ave will now be open between 41st and 55th streets.

The department says this means motorists will also begin using the city’s first ever mini-roundabout. It was constructed at the intersection of 18th Ave and 48th St.

The second phase of the project means the intersection of 18th Ave 41st St will be completely closed.

The work affecting the intersection is expected to be finished by Sept. 13th. The department says a school crossing guard will be stationed at the intersection to help with students that travel through this intersection. There will also be accommodations to move bikes and pedestrians through and around the intersection.

The second phase also means 18th Ave between 37th and 41st streets will be open to local traffic only. The second phase is scheduled to be completed by mid-November.

The new mini-roundabout at the intersection of 18th Avenue NW and 48th Street NW will improve the safety and flow of traffic through the corridor. A mini-roundabout functions the same as a regular roundabout; however, they have a much smaller diameter, on the order of 50 to 80 ft. The small footprint and relatively low implementation cost, allow mini-roundabouts to be a good option for urban and suburban intersections of lower speed, two-lane roads. As was the case on 18th Avenue NW, mini-roundabouts and approaching lanes can fit within existing boundaries of the intersection. Mini-roundabouts are primarily designed for passenger cars that are expected to use the circular roadway around the central island, which can be raised or flush. Buses and large trucks may traverse over the central island in order to complete turning maneuvers due to the smaller size of the roundabout.

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