Capital Region Medical Center has added a sculpture to the Jefferson Street and Stadium Boulevard roundabout, bringing construction work on the roundabout to a close.
Resting in the middle of the roundabout are two aluminum hands reaching skyward, a butterfly resting on one of the fingers. The 12-foot sculpture is about 6 feet in diameter and is surrounded by a 3-foot-tall wall.
In June, the Public Works and Planning Committee approved CRMC's request to place the sculpture in the roundabout's center island.
The city opened the roundabout in August, but minor projects remained to be completed — like installing the artwork, which was finished Friday.
Lindsay Huhman, public relations director at CRMC, said the sculpture contains two symbols. The butterfly represents hope and life's journey, while the hands symbolize the "healing and helping hands of dedicated health care providers who work to cultivate healthier communities."
Central Missouri artist Mike Mistler designed and created the sculpture, as well as the butterfly display outside the Capital Region Physicians Office.
Since the Stadium and Jefferson intersection is a main entry point to the hospital, Huhman said, CRMC wanted it to be inviting and beautify the area.
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"As an organization, it is important to us to go beyond our walls and make our community a better place," she said. "While we typically aim our efforts in the areas of health and wellness, creating a welcoming environment is also a priority. The roundabout structure gave us a platform to add a bit of beauty and interest to the area."
City Engineer David Bange said research shows traffic flows more efficiently in roundabouts when drivers can't see across the central island, forcing them to focus on the cars to their left.
"If you have someone coming up to the roundabout and they're looking at the traffic on the opposite side of the roundabout, that's really not where they need to be looking because that traffic doesn't actually affect them," he said. "If they were to be paying attention to that traffic, thinking they would need to yield to it, then that would actually slow down the roundabout and it loses efficiency because people are waiting on cars that they don't have to wait for.
"By putting something in the middle it forces people to think, 'Oh, I can't see across the roundabout, so maybe I should be looking to the cars to my left,' which is really where you should be looking at because those are the cars you'll need to yield to."
The Jefferson City-Cole County joint project began last summer, addressing traffic backups on U.S. 54 from the Jefferson Street off-ramp and congestion on Stadium Boulevard.
The dual-lane roundabout has a right-hand slip lane coming off the U.S. 54 exit ramp from Stadium Boulevard to Christy Drive. The project also widens Stadium Boulevard to Trinity Lutheran Church's driveway.
Since the roundabout opened in August, Bange said, the city believes it has been successful in helping traffic flow.