POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – At the new Five Points roundabout project in Mahoning County, three of the points opened Saturday after being closed for months. But that excitement was tempered when Western Reserve Road heading west was closed.
The new traffic pattern caught drivers by surprise Saturday. Poland Township police have been chasing those going the wrong direction in the roundabout.
“I’m assuming they just wanted to get where they wanted to get without going out of their way, compared to not understanding how a roundabout works,” Chief Brian Goodin said.
Where two-way traffic was allowed earlier in the project, now the circle is being completed so all traffic will move counterclockwise.
As the traffic pattern changes, drivers are inconvenienced with a new portion of the road closed, blocking their access to Western Reserve Road heading west.
“I don’t know which way to go to end up in Youngstown. I’m like, really confused,” Brian Harris said.
“It’s frustrating,” Emma Niro said. “I hope it’s worth doing the work because I would’ve suggested putting a red light in and they would’ve worked better.”
The project started in the spring and for about eight months, the various traffic patterns and road closings have challenged the patience of drivers and police.
“We’ve had people move signs, move cones,” Goodin said. “I saw an elderly woman get out and move a barricade so she could drive through.”
New Life Church and other places nearby have been lenient with drivers on private property.
While the project is nearing completion, the new beginning is for drivers understanding roundabout driving.
Signs point drivers one way and tell them to yield to traffic in the roundabout.
“If you just stay on your right side of the yellow lines, it’s going to direct you all the way around to where you need to go,” Goodin said.
The Five Points intersection has always been troublesome. Drivers used to have to wait in long lines at stop signs.
The roundabout will keep cars moving.
“I’m guessing that this is going to be a lot easier and a lot smoother, that we don’t have the problems we had before with the backup of traffic,” Goodin said.
The Mahoning County Engineer’s Office said the work should be finished early next week, depending on the weather.