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Lake County to spend $1M on controversial roundabout

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Lake County has approved the location of a roundabout along two county roads in a very rural area.

WFTV learned federal money, not local taxpayer money, would be used to pay for the $1 million project, but some are still upset over the high cost.

"This is one of the most absurd proposals that I've seen," said Jimmy Conner of the Lake County Commission.

Conner said he can't stand the idea of building a $1 million roundabout at the intersection of CR-455 and CR-561, which sits between the cities of Astatula and Minneola.

But supporters said a crossing built in the 1930s that now features four ramps, four yield signs and six stop signs is a mess.

"To me, that defies common sense right there. That is an unsafe intersection. Every time I drive through there, I'm confused," said Leslie Campione of the Lake County Commission.

Officials said there have been 10 crashes at the intersection over the last four years, a rate of 42 percent above the state average.

Lake County taxpayers would not have to cover the cost of the roundabout, with federal money being used, but Conner said that's part of the problem.

"We've got a $16 trillion debt in Washington, and this is a perfect reason why," he said. "Because were spending $1 million at the local level on projects you don't need."

Local contractor Roger Lewis said he agrees with Conner.

"It's fine. Why spend the money?" he said.

Tuesday's vote means the county will accept a $270,000 grant to pay for designs of the new roundabout.