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story.lead_photo.caption The roundabout at Jefferson Street and Stadium Boulevard is now open, including the southbound and northbound Jefferson Street, south of the intersection. The bypass lane north on Jefferson to turn onto eastbound Stadium Boulevard will save those drivers from having to go through the roundabout. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

The Stadium Boulevard and Jefferson Street roundabout opened to traffic Friday, four days ahead of schedule.

"We're really pleased and excited to see it open ahead of schedule for the public," City Design Engineer Tia Griffin said.

There will be intermittent lane closures over the next few days to finish the roundabout's lighting, work on seeding and installation of artwork in the middle of the roundabout, Griffin said.

The Public Works and Planning Committee approved Capital Region Medical Center's request in June to place a sculpture in the middle of the roundabout.

The sculpture will depict a pair of hands pointed upward with a butterfly on one hand. The sculpture will be about 12 feet tall and about 6 feet in diameter. A 3-foot-tall wall will surround the sculpture.

"With the installation of the proposed sculpture and accompanying wall, the view across the intersection will be greatly reduced, creating the environment for smoother movement of vehicles," City Engineer David Bange said in an email to the committee.

The joint project with Cole County started last summer to address traffic backups on U.S. 54 from the Jefferson Street off-ramp and congestion on Stadium Boulevard.

The dual-lane roundabout will have a right-hand slip lane coming off the U.S. 54 exit ramp from Stadium Boulevard to Christy Drive. The project will widen Stadium Boulevard to Trinity Lutheran Church's driveway.

Trinity Lutheran School's first day is Wednesday. Nearby, Helias High School juniors and seniors start classes Monday, with the school's first full day Wednesday.

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