DOT announces start of $4.8M project to construct roundabout on US Route 11 just north of Watertown

New Roundabout Will Enhance Safety and Improve Mobility Along Busy Commercial Corridor and Key Commuter Route for Workers at Fort Drum

WATERTOWN, NY —  New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez today announced the start of a $4.8 million project to reconfigure the intersection of U.S. Route 11 with Mill and LeRay streets just outside the City of Watertown, in the Town of Pamelia, Jefferson County.

The project will create a modern roundabout to enhance safety and ease the flow of traffic along a busy retail and commercial corridor that is also widely used by commuters traveling to and from Fort Drum.

It will also improve access to the Seaway Plaza shopping center and other adjacent retail establishments and businesses.

“This project exemplifies the Department of Transportation’s commitment to making improvements to New York’s transportation network that ease travel by keeping commerce and people on the move,” Commissioner Dominguez said. “This new roundabout will improve traffic flow and enhance safety for North Country residents and visitors alike, while also improving access to Fort Drum and other commercial and retail centers in the region.”

As part of the project, the entrance to the Seaway Plaza will be realigned to provide motorists with easier access to the shopping center and the sidewalk connections to the City of Watertown will be upgraded to improve accommodations for pedestrians. New lighting and landscaping will also be added. The project is expected to be completed later this year.

 The new roundabout will compliment improvements made in fulfillment of Governor Cuomo’s 2015 pledge to fund transportation projects that enhance safety and ease traffic on Route 26 near Fort Drum. Those improvements included:

  • The realignment of the intersection of State Route 26 on Fort Drum with Oneida and Ontario avenues to improve safety and reduce congestion.

  • The reconstruction of a one-stretch of Nash Boulevard and the erection of a new bridge.

  • New turning lanes at the intersection of U.S. Route 11 and State Route 26 and a new a slip ramp onto State Route 26 for northbound traffic on U.S. Route 11.

A roundabout is engineered to maximize safety and minimize congestion.  In addition, with the installation of a roundabout, often there is a decrease in the severity of crashes, which typically occur at a slower speed. Traffic flows more freely through roundabouts than at traditional intersections, cutting congestion and commute time. Reduced vehicle idling time means fewer fuel emissions and improved air quality. Roundabouts eliminate the need for electricity-powered traffic signals, provide a more walkable community, and an aesthetically pleasing landscape.

NYSDOT provides additional information online regarding roundabouts, as well as downloadable brochures, here. A link to our instructional video on roundabouts may be found here.

Drivers are reminded:

  1. Watch traffic signs and pavement markings to determine the correct lane to be in before entering the roundabout. Once inside the roundabout do not change lanes.

  2. Use the left lane to make left turns and use the right lane to make right turns. Follow signs and markings to determine which lane(s) go straight.

  3. Traffic in the roundabout has the right-of-way.

  4. Vehicles wishing to enter should yield at the yield line and look for oncoming traffic on their left.

  5. Enter the roundabout when there is an adequate gap in the circulating traffic flow.

  6. Always yield to pedestrians and keep crosswalks clear.

  7. Cars and trucks should yield to bicycle traffic and not pass them.

  8. As you approach your exit, turn on your right turn signal.

Bicyclists are permitted to ride within the roundabout and should follow the flow of traffic, riding in the middle of the lane to prevent being passed or cut off.  Hand turning signals should be used.  If bicyclists choose not to ride in the roundabout, they should dismount prior to the intersection and proceed as a pedestrian walking their bicycle, on the sidewalk if present.

Crosswalks for pedestrians are generally just outside of the main flow of the roundabout’s traffic. Walkers, runners, and dismounted bikers should always look before crossing and only cross one direction of traffic at a time. Never cross to the center island.

Motorists are urged to slow down and drive responsibly in work zones. Fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone.  Convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver license.

For up-to-date travel information, call 511, visit or download the free 511NY mobile app.

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