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Drivers in Florence are getting accustomed on Friday to the city's first roundabout.
It's at South Royal Avenue and Huntsville Road in the Sweetwater District, near Ranger Batteries and Staggs Grocery.
For nearly a year, a lengthy detour around the newly finished roundabout virtually cut off several businesses, but with the roundabout open, business owners said it's better than what they had before.
"I'm very excited. We waited 11 months for this thing to get finished," said Rob Tyree, the manager at Ranger Batteries.
Ranger Batteries is right by the newly finished roundabout. Tyree told WAAY 31 his business suffered while the city's first roundabout was under construction.
"I believe, with it open, it's going to make our business come back where it was before, if not better," said Tyree.
The project that includes new roads, pavement, sidewalks and the roundabout cost about $2 million. The state paid for 80% of the project and the city paid 20% of the project cost. While the roundabout is open, one part of South Royal Avenue that connects the roundabout is closed for repaving. The city said that will take about three more weeks to finish.
"It will cause a little bit of problems," said Tyree.
That's because some customers might still have problems getting to Tyree's store, but he said he's relieved to hear it won't be long before the entire project is complete.
"I'm glad it's open and to see how much it's going to improve the area of East Florence," said Tyree.
Since it's the city's first roundabout and people aren't used to driving it, Tyree said he's put up a sign reminding drivers to take it slow.
"It's quite interesting to see people figure out how to drive around it," said Tyree.
The city projects a completion date of the entire project to be the middle of September.
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