The first traffic roundabout on James Island is included in the latest version of the $18 million Harbor View Road improvements project to be presented at a meeting tonight.

If you go

What: Harbor View Road hearing

When: 7 tonight

Where: Stiles Point Elementary, 883 Mikell Drive

The roundabout would be at the intersection of Harbor View and Fort Johnson roads.

At the meeting, Charleston County staff will discuss the road improvements and how they will be reviewed under the National Environmental Policy Act.

A brief presentation at 7:30 p.m. will provide an overview of the new version of the project, known as a “proposed alternative.” Afterward, officials handling engineering, right-of-way acquisition and environmental issues will be available to answer questions. Displays of the proposed alternative will be provided for public review.

The purpose of the project is better traffic flow and safety on about two miles of the road between North Shore Drive and Fort Johnson Road. It includes a center two-way left-turn lane, right turn lanes at major intersections and the roundabout. The average annual daily traffic count on Harbor View Road is 26,000 vehicles.

Traffic flow in a roundabout is counterclockwise. They are safer for pedestrians and have been shown to sharply reduce crashes with injuries and fatalities, according to a study by Thomas & Hutton Engineering.

Although new to James Island and West Ashley, roundabouts are increasingly familiar to Mount Pleasant drivers. There are three of the traffic loops on Rifle Range Road, two of them on Mathis Ferry Road and more in the works at other locations.

North Charleston has a roundabout at Park Circle.

In addition to a roundabout, the latest proposed Harbor View project includes 5-foot-wide concrete sidewalks on both sides of the road and traffic signals at the intersections of Harbor View with Fort Sumter and Mikell drives. Crosswalks are planned at various locations.

The Harbor View project was among those that Charleston County voters approved in the transportation sales tax bond referendum in 2004 that authorized the county to issue $77 million in bonds for road work.