It’s been three years since Rockford opened the state’s first two-lane roundabout at Auburn and Main.

And hundreds of crashes later,  it’s clear the so-called “wreck-it roundabout” is flawed.

“Seems like a fender bender every day,” said local business owner Daniel Johnson.

Johnson owns a dental office across the street from the roundabout.

He hears all the time about people who have driven through Rockford’s two-lane roundabout, and found the experience a little unnerving…

“For every one person that likes it,” said Johnson. “There’s another 2 or 3 that won’t go near it.”

When it first opened, it was one of a kind, the only two-lane roundabout in the state.

City leaders said it would reduce traffic at the intersection and make it safer.

“Ultimately, the roundabout was thought to give the most capacity, the best safety, and affect the least amount of properties,” said Jeremy Carter, Traffic Engineer for the city. .

But it hasn’t exactly worked out that way.

In the first six months of 2012, before the roundabout was built, just 3 accidents were reported at Auburn and Main.

But in 2014, that number shot up to 86 at the newly installed roundabout-and it got worse.  

In 2015, the number of crashes rose to 91.

2016 seems to continue that trend, with 71 collisions for the months of January through late October.

So just a bit lower than the year before, from 7.6 accidents per month in 2015, to 7.1 in 2016.

“Everyone just getting used to it,” said Alderman Tom McNamara. “As you’ve seen, year after year, they’re slowly coming down, those accident numbers. I think you’ll begin to see that as people become more accustomed.”

McNamara thinks added signage could help.

“Yeah, the accident numbers are still ridiculously high,” said McNamara. “Yeah, I think some increased signage for people before they’re at the intersection just letting them know that they can take a right or a left and just go around it.”

But the city says there’s more than enough signage.

They attribute the high rate of accidents to just one thing.

“It’s mostly user error,” said Carter. “It’s it’s people not yielding when they should, or changing lanes, turning, not following proper signage.”

“Every time you go through, you certainly have to be very cautious,” said McNamara. “There’s always someone who’s not slowing down one bit it seems.”