City Staff to Review Roundabout Plans Designed By Students - The Missourian: Communities

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City Staff to Review Roundabout Plans Designed By Students

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Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013 10:15 am | Updated: 8:52 pm, Sat Jun 22, 2013.

 

City staff members will pare down the nearly 30 designs submitted by Union High School students to provide signage at the Independence Drive and Main Street roundabout.

Community Development Director Joseph Graves said many students worked on the designs in industrial arts, art and other classes.

There were several designs that stood out, including one that featured direction signs pointing toward the downtown business district, Highway 50 and the city’s industrial park.

“That one was pretty sharp,” said Graves. “He or she put a lot of thought into that.”

Other designs incorporated Union R-XI School colors and signage.

“We could take a couple of factors and combine them,” said Alderman David Pope. “There were a lot of good ideas.”

Some of the designs also included elements that would require electricity, and water.

City Administrator Russell Rost noted that Jonathan Zimmermann, the city engineer, would determine the feasibility of those designs.

Zimmermann has said there will be water and electricity available at the intersection.

History

The city and school district began working toward the roundabout design and signage in July 2012 before the intersection was complete.

Union R-XI Superintendent Steve Bryant met with the city’s parks, building, development and public service committee to propose a plan for UHS students to design the signs.

Bryant offered an example of a Rolla roundabout that features a large sign with fending and pillars. It includes a welcome message to the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Landscaping would be maintained by the Union High School FFA and the district’s maintenance department, Bryant added.

Last year, Zimmermann added that there are plans for a “gateway” on Main Street near the Franklin County Courthouse Square, inviting motorists to the downtown area.

He noted that the roundabout could be consistent with those design schemes.

Roundabout Debate

There are some residents who have opposed the idea of a roundabout. There are complaints that the intersections are traffic hazards and dangerous at the intersection near UHS where there will be many inexperienced drivers.

There have been letters written to The Missourian by residents against the construction of the roundabout, and complaints were lodged at city hall.

There also had been a handful of comments on the city’s Facebook page that included inaccurate information, and personal attacks. That caused the city to disable the comment section of the site.

At roundabouts, vehicles travel counterclockwise around a raised center island, with entering traffic yielding the right of way to circulating traffic. Once there is a gap in traffic, drivers enter the circle and proceed to their exit. If there is no traffic in the roundabout they enter without yielding.

The traffic light was removed from the intersection to provide a more continuous flow of traffic, Zimmermann has said.

Following the intersection work, the State Street and Independence Drive intersection was permanently closed. There will be a cul-de-sac installed on the west end of State Street.

The Main Street project is funded through the Surface Transportation Program (STP) and is an 80-20 cost-share, including a 20 percent local match and 80 percent federal match.

The project is nearly complete and the scope includes a 2-inch asphalt overlay, concrete base repairs, new sidewalks and signs.

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