Business owners hope new roundabout brings more traffic to downtown Laurel

Loosen the belt, miss. (WDAM) – The City of Laurel celebrated the opening of a new roundabout Wednesday morning.

The festivities began with a vehicular parade across the island, including city officials, police, fire trucks and surrounding business owners.

The transit structure is located in downtown Laurel on Central Avenue.

Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee said the roundabout was an alternative to red light intersections and he hoped the project would improve congestion in the area.

“The main goal is to make traffic smoother and faster at Sawmill and Leontyne Price because you don’t have to sit there and wait for the traffic lights to change,” Magee said.

The street has been closed to traffic for several months.

The construction of the roundabout has slowed foot traffic for many businesses in the surrounding area. Those who want to visit downtown businesses must park at a different location and walk to get there.

Local business owners are happy that things are getting back to normal and hope to see an increase in customers over time.

“In the end most of the businesses here, we don’t get a lot of attention because all of our construction is going on, so it’s definitely going to grow the business. We’re very excited about that,” said Wilson Commissary’s general manager.

Chad Knight, owner of Knight Butcher, agreed, saying the community in downtown Laurel was better than ever.

“We’ve got really good, strong local community support, and it’s even better with tourists,” Knight said. “So, we’re happy to be here, we’re here at the right time.”

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