Keller city officials weigh options for intersections

Posted Monday, Jul. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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KELLER City officials must decide between a roundabout and a traffic signal at Keller Smithfield and Johnson roads, one of the projects extensively discussed July 2 during the Keller City Council meeting.

During a span of several meetings, the Transportation Bond Program Advisory Committee is presenting final recommendations to council to move forward with a $10 million bond proposal that would be used to improve roads and intersections.

Price tag for the projects is equivalent to 1.96 cents on the City of Keller tax rate, which equates to an average annual increase of $52.

Two weeks ago, staff reviewed the committee’s recommended roadway projects.

The July 2 portion included recommended intersection improvements, including the Keller Smithfield and Johnson Road location, in which the committee recommended a traffic signal be installed instead of a roundabout.

“Out of all the things I have looked at, this is probably the one thing I would question, this intersection, as far as a roundabout versus traffic signal,” said Mayor Pat McGrail.

Councilman John Hoffmann, who also served as chairman of the Transportation Bond Program Advisory Committee, said the decision was based primarily on finances and keeping the tax rate down.

“This (intersection), most of all, we had the longest discussion of roundabout versus signalization,” Hoffmann said. “Based on economics ... looking at the difference in cost, that’s what drove the decision.”

Estimated cost for the traffic signal $548,500; cost for the roundabout would be about $932,000.

McGrail challenged staff to find a way of doing the roundabout but at the same time keep the package as proposed at 1.96 cents.

Councilman Gary Reaves, who also served on the committee, said recommendations it came up with are largely based on public input, including extensive discussions on more than one occasion about roundabouts and traffic lights.

“Economics certainly played a part but I don’t want to give the impression that economics was the only factor in the decision to go with traffic signals. Public input played a large part in it also,” Reaves said. “And the public input we received was about not wasting money and trying to keep the expenses low.”

Council will decide which projects could be part of a bond package brought to voters in November. Additional hearings will be held on the proposed projects over the summer as Council works toward determining whether to call a bond election.

Intersection recommendations include:

• Improvements and signalization at four existing intersections: Bear Creek Parkway at Elm Street/Whitley Road, Rapp Road at Whitley Road, Keller-Smithfield Road at Johnson Road, and Keller-Smithfield Road at Bear Creek Parkway North.

• Installation of dual left turn lanes at the Farm Road 1709 and Rufe Snow Drive intersection to help northbound traffic on Rufe Snow Drive turn west, and westbound traffic on FM 1709 turn south.

• Installation of dual left turn lanes at FM 1709 and Keller-Smithfield Road North to help westbound traffic on FM 1709 turn south, and southbound traffic on Keller-Smithfield turn east.

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