Roundabouts win city's endorsement

Carson City supervisors on Thursday approved roundabouts on Arrowhead Drive as part of the freeway's design despite complaints from residents.

Roundabouts are the preferred traffic device on Arrowhead Drive at its intersection with the proposed freeway. The roundabouts take the place of stop signs at the intersections of the freeway ramps and Arrowhead.

"We're following a national trend," Deputy City Manager Dan St. John said. "They need to be placed judiciously. We're excited about being a leader in the state by having a few of these."

Jim Gallegos, freeway project manager from the Nevada Department of Transportation, said the roundabouts reduce the right-of-way needed for the ramps, improves traffic flow as well as calms traffic.

Residents from the Arrowhead Drive area expressed their concerns over speeding traffic and truck traffic on the road. The roundabouts were proposed as a way to help calm traffic in the area by discouraging truck traffic and reducing speeds.

Resident Ben Hammack said he wasn't sure if he agreed or disagreed with the roundabouts, but was concerned about their use in a full intersection.

Plans for Arrowhead show a half-interchange, with an off ramp for north bound traffic and an on ramp for south bound traffic. A full interchange is not planned, Gallegos said. Hammack and neighbor Norm Pedersen both said until the freeway comes, the city needs to take action to curb speeding traffic on the road, especially with summer construction on College Parkway forcing traffic onto Arrowhead as an alternate route.

"We on Arrowhead Drive will live with what you decide, but please take our concerns into your decisions," Hammack said.

Resident Edward Neidert said he was unfamiliar with how roundabouts would work on Arrowhead, but spoke emphatically against the roundabout at Edmonds Drive and Fifth Street, which he drives through daily.

He said he had friends who wouldn't visit him because of travel through the roundabout and also spoke of near accidents in the roundabout. He said enough public comment hadn't been garnered.

The Arrowhead design change is part of Phase 1B of the freeway, and the modifications saved the state $1.3 million. Phase 1B is about 30 percent designed. It should be 60 percent designed and open for public review sometime this summer.

Bids for the $90 million Phase 1B of the freeway's northern leg should be posted in February 2001.

Construction on Phase 1A is scheduled to start sometime in April. Construction is slated on the northern leg, which extends from Lakeview Hill to Highway 50, from 2000 to 2003. The second freeway leg from Highway 50 east to the Spooner Summit Junction has a $160 million price tag, and as of yet, no funding.

Construction is expected to begin on the southern leg in 2004 and to finish in 2007.


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