Traffic planners are looking at ways to make traffic flow more smoothly on a congested stretch of Route 222.

The Reading Area Transportation Study group got its first look Thursday at adding a pair of what PennDOT calls "roundabouts" to 222 between Reading and Kutztown.

The roundabouts would be added at Routes 222 and 73 and Routes 222 and 662.

"The roundabout would function in the same manner as a traffic signal in terms of being able to move traffic from 222 onto the side streets and from the side streets onto 222, as well as platoon the traffic through those intersections on 222 itself," said Mike Keiser, PennDOT.

PennDOT said roundabouts, which were first introduced in Europe in the late 1950s, differ from traditional traffic circles in that their design requires approaching vehicles to yield to the circulating flow of traffic at a lower speed.

Roundabouts made their U.S. debut near Las Vegas in 1990.

Officials said their plan for Route 222 is only preliminary. Any work is still several years away.

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