Roundabout could delay future projects

Spending an extra $85,000 on the roundabout at Fifth Street and Edmonds Drive could mean delays in future Carson City transportation projects, officials said Wednesday.

The Carson City Regional Transportation Commission's limited budget has been hit recently with unexpected expenses such as a recent decision to spend an extra $70,000 to extend Challenger Way to College Parkway.

Taking another $85,000 from the budget could delay the start of other projects planned for next year, Street Operations Manager John Flansberg said. To what extent it could affect the budget, he didn't know for sure.

"You don't have to be a math science major to see this budget has been blown," Commissioner Marv Teixeira said.

While he noted he wasn't on the commission when the decision to add the roundabout to the intersection was made, Teixeira said he had a problem with the roundabout because the project was pursued because of its $120,000 estimate.

With the project going significantly over budget, it should have been brought back to the commission for consideration, he said. The commission Wednesday was scheduled only to discuss the project. The Carson City Board of Supervisors will give the final approval or denial to the $205,724 traffic device May 18.

"The issue here is that it's our job to deliver construction projects to the community that are within our budget," Teixeira said. "I have a problem. It looks like this ship is running amok. It's not the commission's fault, but we take the hits for it. I'm a little disappointed. Our track record isn't too good in the last three meetings. We better tighten this ship. We need to do better."

The roundabout was installed in April 1999 as a Nevada Department of Transportation experiment. The city decided to make the roundabout permanent in September 1999 partially because it was estimated to be cheaper than a traffic signal. The roundabout also moves traffic with significantly less congestion. Flansberg said the roundabout's efficiency would save the city money by delaying such projects as expanding Edmonds Drive to four lanes.

Carson resident Merlyn Paine said she hopes the new design of the roundabout will increase its safety. As a resident living on the east side of the roundabout off Fifth Street, she said north/south traffic on Edmonds drive too rapidly through the intersection. The new design should take care of that problem.

"Mr. Teixeira is correct that the board owns these projects," Paine said. "I have something else in the community I'd rather have $80,000 go to. But I am looking forward to a safer roundabout."

-Commissioners also approved a an agreement with Washoe County and the Nevada Department of Transportation on a proposed transit route between Carson City and Reno.

NDOT and the Washoe County Regional Transportation Commission teamed up to fund and oversee the portion of the transit system between Washoe and Douglas counties. The extent of Carson's monetary commitment to the system is unknown, but would involve helping market the program and to helping choose, monitor, and clean bus stops.

There will be five or six stops in Carson City from Wal-Mart to Kmart. Each ride would cost $3 and the fee includes a transfer to the Citifare system in Reno.

The transit system would be open to everyone, even though the bread and butter of the system would be commuters and those who need transportation to find work.

Backers say it would reduce pollution, ease the stress of driving and cut traffic between Reno and Carson City.

The system would eventually serve Douglas County. The system is expected to be running by the end of July or early August.


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