Fort Worth is tapping the brakes on its plans to build more roundabouts at busy intersections.
The City Council recently approved plans to instead build old-fashioned traffic signals with green, yellow and red lights at 11 intersections — all of which were previously scheduled to be sites for roundabouts.
The intersections, which are in the fast-growing area of far north Fort Worth, are scheduled to be improved during the next couple of years with proceeds from a 2018 voter-approved city bond election.
City officials told elected leaders during a recent council meeting that, during the engineering and design process for these intersections, it was determined that traffic signals with traditional green, yellow and red lights would be a better option for managing traffic.
Several of the intersections have heavy truck traffic, making them less than ideal for roundabouts, city officials said.
Also, roundabouts tend to require more space than some of the roadways in question had available, a councilman said.
“Roundabouts are becoming more popular with residents. I like them as they are more safe and less expensive to maintain,” Cary Moon, a Fort Worth councilman whose district includes several of the intersections, said in an email. “The challenges with roundabouts is the larger area needed to install.”
Where roundabouts were planned
One area in particular, Kroger Drive near Keller Central High School, was scheduled to get two roundabouts. But city officials realized there was a large volume of truck traffic from the adjacent Kroger supermarket distribution hub and not enough right-of-way in the area to build a circle big enough to accommodate the trucks.
The other nine areas where plans for roundabouts have been replaced by more traditional traffic signals are:
▪ Blue Mound Road at U.S. 287, where two roundabouts were planned at both freeway frontage roads. City officials said the recent conversation of the frontage roads to one-way traffic makes traffic signals a better option.
▪ Keller-Hicks Road at Katy Road. Concerns were raised about the proposed traffic circle’s proximity to a railroad crossing.
▪ Bonds Ranch Road at Farm Road 156. The Texas Department of Transportation will be building this intersection, and requested a traffic signal rather than a roundabout.
▪ Golden Triangle Boulevard at Harmon Road. A traffic signal would be more efficient for local truck traffic.
▪ Avondale-Haslet Road at Willow Springs Road North; Avondale-Haslet Road at Willow Springs Road South; and Avondale-Haslet Road at Sendera Ranch Boulevard. Three roundabouts were planned in this one-mile stretch, but a recent study shows that a traffic signal would be more efficient for local traffic.
▪ Park Vista Boulevard and Keller Haslet Road. A traffic signal is recommended as a temporary solution until Park Vista Boulevard’s southbound lanes are built.
Fort Worth city staff told council members that the changes could be made while staying within the money allotted for the bond package. The city’s voters in 2018 voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition A, which authorized issuance and sale of $261.6 million in tax-supported bonds for street and mobility infrastructure improvements.
Not all roundabouts bad
Despite the change of plans for those 11 intersections, Fort Worth isn’t totally giving up on roundabouts.
The city is moving forward with one roundabout that will require Randol Mill Road to close for three weeks.
The planned roundabout at Randol Mill Road and Precinct Line Road was approved as part of the 2014 bond election. The city council Tuesday will vote on closing Randol Mill between Precinct Line and Lowery Road from Monday to Oct. 4.
Randol Mill Road is too narrow in that area to allow crews to maintain an open line while working on the roundabout and related drainage improvements. Traffic will be diverted to Cooks Lane and John T. White Road.
Star-Telegram Staff Writer Luke Ranker contributed to this report.