City officials say there is not much of a threat of “stacking” at a third roundabout proposed at the entrance to East Central College.
Union Police Chief Norman Brune told members of the Union Parks, Building, Development and Public Service Committee Monday that there won’t be traffic stacked from the roundabout at Prairie Dell Road and the college main entrance south of Highway 50.
According to preliminary plans, the entrance to the school will be shifted north slightly where a roundabout intersection will be built.
There is a roundabout located at Main Street and Independence Drive. Construction is expected to begin Monday, June 24, at a second roundabout at Washington Avenue and Independence Drive.
Alderman Dustin Bailey questioned if traffic could block the Highway 50 and Prairie Dell intersections, or if the Highway 50 light would back traffic into the roundabout.
“It shouldn’t be a problem because the people coming out of the college have to yield to the southbound traffic,” Brune said. “The traffic on southbound Prairie Dell should be able to flow without any problem.”
City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann explained that according to the Federal Highway Administration the preferred location for roundabout intersection is near educational facilities because they “calm” traffic.
“I think the roundabout at the high school is great,” he said. “It handles traffic much better than the signalized intersection did.”
Zimmermann said he expects the same results at the Prairie Dell Road roundabout.
“It should handle the flow much better than the current (intersection),” he said. “I think it will be a lot better.”
Brune further explained that the intersection will be an improvement.
“I believe the traffic will flow better than the light and stop sign situation we are in now,” he said. “If it stacks (in the roundabout), it will clear out just as quickly — it manages itself and will take care of itself.”
Construction is expected to begin in 2015.
The project is Phase 1 of the Prairie Dell Road improvements that are in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for 2012-2015. Prairie Dell Road will undergo pavement improvements, pedestrian enhancements, curb and gutter work and widening of the road.
The cost to upgrade the two-mile stretch is estimated at $1,370,000. The project is an 80-20 cost share project and the city will provide 20 percent of the project cost.
The funds were available through the East-West Gateway Council of Governments’ Surface Transportation Program — Suballocated (STP-S) pool available to area communities.
STP-S funds can be used for projects such as pavement preservation, bridges, highway expansion, congestion mitigation, safety, environmental mitigation, transit and pedestrian facilities.
The scope of work includes road repairs from Prairie Dell Plaza to Highway 50 and is an 80-20 cost share project. Prairie Dell is a narrow road — about 22 to 23 feet wide.
The second phase of the project would extend the improvements on Prairie Dell Road to College Road.
The scope of the Phase II project includes widening of the roadway, and new sidewalks. The project is estimated to cost $1,352,250.