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Taylorsville Journal

Taylorsville trivia: the city is now home to its first-ever traffic roundabout

Apr 12, 2024 02:05PM ● By Carl Fauver

Perspective can be deceiving. No, the sign is not actually the same size as the new temple. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

“Behind the shelter in the middle of the roundabout… the pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray…”

It was a long time ago – and perhaps you no longer recall – but most of us “Yanks” had no idea what a “roundabout” was when Paul and George introduced us to the word in their Beatles hit “Penny Lane.” It was February 1967. The Brits in Liverpool were familiar with them. But it would be more than a generation before we got one here.

Our friends at Wikipedia explain, “In the United States, modern roundabouts emerged in the 1990s after years of planning and educational campaigning. The very first (U.S. roundabout) was constructed in Summerlin, Nevada in the summer of 1990.”

It was nearly another full decade, into the fall of 1999, before Utah got its first modern roundabout down in St. George.

Now, another quarter-century later, you can officially add Taylorsville to the list of Utah communities that rotate traffic counterclockwise through an intersection. Come to think of it, that means the Penny Lane roundabout rotates its traffic past the pretty nurse, clockwise (that whole driving on the left side, remember). 

“As we looked at ways to most efficiently move traffic around and past the new (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Temple entrance, we decided in early 2023 to build the roundabout,” City Engineer Ben White explained. “Work started on the roundabout last spring and it was completed last summer. It hasn’t seen a lot of traffic yet, because the temple’s not been open. But that will change.”

The complete diameter of the roundabout, including the single-wide traffic lane, is 104 feet. Construction cost about $200,000, which included modest payments to a pair of homeowners because small corners of their properties had to be cut into slightly to complete the circle.

The roundabout is at the intersection of Chentelle Drive (2600 West) and Sable Circle (4740 South). By the way, Sable Circle is now misnamed, because of another reconstruction project in the area.

“Sable Circle used to run through from 2700 West to Chentelle (2600 West) but was cut off years ago,” White added. “As we prepared for the increase in traffic, we decided to restore it as a through street. This took only three weeks and cost about $20,000. Our crews just had to do a little curb and gutter work. One resident’s driveway was repoured. That part of the project was completed in October.”

Presumably Sable “Circle” will now need to be renamed. “Penny Lane,” anyone?

Certainly, the roundabout is unique to Taylorsville. And the reopened street is, at least, unusual. But truth be told, those projects will have almost no impact on 99% of drivers who are in that area on a regular basis. Unless you live in that particular neighborhood – or are visiting the temple – you’ll never see the changes.

The huge changes, impacting thousands of drivers every day, are a stone’s throw to the north, on 4700 South. 

“To improve safety and traffic movement on 4700 South, we removed the traffic light at 2600 West and also installed an 825 foot median between the traffic lanes,” White explained. “Once westbound drivers are west of (the belt route), they must now drive all the way to the (2700 West) intersection before they can turn south. People using I-215 to reach the Taylorsville Temple will go west (on 4700 South) to the light, turn south and drive a half block, then turn left (east) to reach the temple entrance from Sable (through the roundabout).”

About the same time the new median was being installed on 4700 South, a 1,000 foot section of the road was also resurfaced. White reports the overall cost of the project was about $350,000. 

For her part, Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson is glad to get these construction projects behind the city.

“We have studied 4700 South (traffic issues and potential solutions) to death,” she said. “We wanted to improve access (to the new temple). The solutions still aren’t ideal; but it’s the best we could come up with. The changes also help us prepare for the BRT service that’s coming.”

Finally, despite all the changes in the area, Overson is not aware of any lingering animosity residents in that part of her city may have about the opening of the new temple.

“Neighbors were concerned during construction, with all the work trucks being parked on their streets,” Overson said. “We had to create specific temple construction worker parking permits. But now that the work is completed, I haven’t heard any more neighbor concerns. Of course, we will continue to track it as people begin visiting the temple for the public open house – and then afterward, as Church members begin to come more regularly.” λ

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