Roundabout in the works for neighborhood intersection

While city engineers are making progress on plans for a new roundabout on Mountain View Drive, long-awaited lighting improvements have hit a roadblock.

Representatives from the municipal planning division and Kinney Engineering gave updates on both projects at the Mountain View Community Council meeting Monday night. Randy Kinney, a project manager with Kinney Engineering, said designs for the roundabout at the McCarrey Street intersection are 65 percent complete.

He said Mountain View Drive sees about 10,000 vehicles every day and McCarrey sees about 4,000; the new roundabout project aims to decrease traffic collisions and make the crossing safer for pedestrians. With the current layout, he said, the intersection has between two and three crashes annually and higher rates of pedestrian-involved collisions than many other parts of town.

“It’s more of a dart out and a dash through some very short gaps, rather than a comfortable, safe cross,” Kinney said.

The whole project is estimated to cost $3-3.5 million and be completed in 2016. Ross Oswald, a municipal project manager, said it involved obtaining a sliver of military land at the southeast corner of the intersection. That alone is a 24-month process, he said.

Meanwhile, significant work has yet to take place on planned lighting improvements along Mountain View Drive. The lighting would be installed between Taylor Street and Boniface Parkway, and $1 million in state capital funding was appropriated for the project more than a year ago.

Monday, community council members learned the whole thing could cost upwards of $2.7 million.

Without the additional funding, Kenney said the municipality could only install a portion of the lighting. Without having done any studies, he said he was unsure just what $1 million could buy.

The news came as a surprise for many council members. State Rep. Geran Tarr said lawmakers had been led to believe the entire project would cost $1 million, and there might not be additional state money to fill the massive budget gap.

“There’s some thinking that you sort of only get one bite at the apple, so it’s harder to go back and ask for money on a project because then it just gives the overall appearance that it wasn’t well organized,” Tarr said.

An open house on both the roundabout and lighting projects — as well as planned bus stop upgrades on North Lane Street — is set to take place Sept. 25. The public event will be held at the Mountain View Library from 4-6 p.m.

 

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