Traffic changes coming to Waco's circle

WACO, Texas - The Texas Department of Transportation will soon be switching up Waco's iconic circle, slowing down drivers to tackle the traffic they say the Magnolia Table is bringing. 

"Finally they are wanting to do something about it," said Janie Lopez, one of the owners of Trujillo's Mexican restaurant. 

Trujillo's has sat in the circle for over three decades. Management says they have seen a lot of traffic scares. 

"We've seen fender benders, we've seen major wrecks, we've seen cars flip over. It's been dangerous around here," said Lopez. 

Now with Magnolia Table drawing in even more people, TxDOT is stepping in. 

"Traffic was relatively slow, but now with the opening of that new restaurant, that new business in there, we are seeing an increase of traffic," said Ken Roberts, TxDOT's Public Information Officer. 

TxDOT is planning to clear up congestion by adding markings on the street showing drivers how to get on the circle, and that there are two lanes, along with more signs directing the way. Right now the speed limit is 30, but TxDOT says be ready - they are slowing you down. 

"There will be a recommended speed reduction as traffic comes into, negotiates, and leaves the circle," said Roberts. 

Lopez thinks this is a good idea. 

"It'll be helpful and it'll make things, you know, less hectic around the circle. Less dangerous," Lopez says.

Close to 15,000 drivers came thru the circle each day before the Magnolia Table came around. This number has spiked ever since. 

"We are seeing a need for additional officers to fill those kind of positions. So that's why we are growing as well. When the city grows, the department grows," said Sgt. Patrick Swanton, of Waco Police. 

More police and new traffic rules could make a big difference, but Lopez says it may not be soon enough. 

"Those familiar with the circle, it'll be easy for us to do that. But those not familiar with the circle, it'll take some getting used to," said Lopez. 

The money is coming from TxDOT's maintenance budget. 

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