To Donna Johnson's way of thinking, roundabouts are hard enough to navigate in a normal-size car, let alone in a truck pulling a fifth-wheel camper trailer.
Johnson and other campers, boaters and users of Clinton Lake will soon find out whether the task is tough or not. Construction crews are scheduled to begin building the city's newest roundabout at Clinton Parkway and Lake Pointe Drive.
"That is going to be a pain in the you-know-what," said Johnson, who is a clerk at the Clinton Cove Mini-Mart and a regular camper at the lake.
Lake Pointe Drive is toward the western end of Clinton Parkway, where the lane turns from a four lane road into a two-lane road.
But before lake users and others have to learn how to deal with a roundabout, they'll first have to learn how to get by without the western most portion of Clinton Parkway. On Monday, construction crews will close Clinton Parkway from Wakarusa Drive to the South Lawrence Trafficway. The road is expected to be closed through late August while work on the roundabout is completed.
City engineers are recommending that people needing to go west on Clinton Parkway instead take Wakarusa Drive south to the trafficway. Motorists will then be able to use the trafficway to get to the western end of Clinton Parkway, which is where the main entrances to the Clinton Lake State Park, Eagle Bend Golf Course and other amenities are located. The entrance and exit ramps off of the trafficway will not be affected by the construction.
The stretch of road will remain open for westbound motorists needing to access businesses on the east end of the project - such as Sport 2 Sport and Pinnacle Woods Apartments.
Once the road does reopen to traffic, city engineers said they did not expect motorists - even those pulling boats and campers or those driving semi-trailer trucks - to have problems with the roundabout.
"None of that will be a problem," said Chuck Soules, director of public works for the city. "It has been designed with that in mind. We have lots of room out there."
But that doesn't mean that trailer-toting drivers won't have to make any adjustments.
"They're going to have to slow down, but that is one of the things we want them to do," said David Woosley, the city's traffic engineer. "You can't drive through it at 50 miles per hour."
Traffic studies have shown that a roundabout is needed for the intersection to handle traffic that is expected to be generated by future development at the intersection. Greg DiVilbiss, a partner in the Bristol Groupe, is developing a portion of the property at the intersection. He said that there are five-acres of commercial space that likely will be developed with a bank, a neighborhood shopping center, and perhaps a convenience store and restaurant. Up and down Lake Pointe Drive, DiVilbiss estimated there would be about 400 new residential dwellings, with a mix of apartments, townhomes and single-family homes. The entire $421,000 cost for the roundabout and intersection improvements are being paid for by the developers.
Several users at Clinton Lake on Tuesday said they weren't concerned about a roundabout being placed on the route to one of their favorite recreational spots.
"I think it is good if it slows down traffic and makes it safer for a neighborhood," said Lauren Brown. "I think people are getting used to them. They shouldn't be such a problem anymore."