After reviewing their options for realignment of the intersection at West River Road and Hayden Lake Road, Champlin City Council settled on proceeding with preparation of plans and specifications for constructing a roundabout.
The intersection alignment project was precipitated by a desire to slow down traffic in the area, to improve safety and to encourage drivers to utilize Highway 169 for trips in the area rather than West River Road. A 30 mph curve was also presented to council during preliminary discussions. It was even part of communications materials sent to property owners within the affected area. However, with the 30 mph curve option, staff felt the project cost would increase primarily due to the potential need to install a stoplight at the intersection. Installing a stoplight would bear an initial cost of $250,000 as well as additional maintenance and electrical costs. Therefore, based on some interest from Mayor ArMand Nelson and councilors Kara Terry and Bruce Miller, staff explored the feasibility of implementing a roundabout at the intersection.
The council worked with Servant of Christ to secure a verbal agreement on temporary and permanent easements as well as an assessment waiver to construct the roundabout.
Servant of Christ representative Scott Hoke spoke at the council meeting indicating they are in favor of the roundabout design and appreciated the council’s efforts.
A number of property owners residing in and around the area spoke. Concerns included safety, speed and noise. Dale Winch, a Bradford Avenue resident, was not in favor of the roundabout design stating he doesn’t think people know how to use roundabouts properly and that he doesn’t think it’s a good fit.
Another Bradford Avenue resident, Pam Richard, is concerned about traffic during rush hour and how it might back up on Hayden Lake Road and into the roundabout onto West River Road.
City Engineer Tim Hanson responded to some of the concerns stating the city has increased knowledged and learned how to better build roundabouts from the initial ones they installed in the city. He said this one would include a higher curb on the apron to further discourage people driving over it. Warning signage for the roundabout and reduced speed would also be installed. He also outlined the advantages and disadvantages of the roundabout alternative as follows:
• It will handle the existing and projected traffic volumes.
• It reduces city’s objective of diverting traffic off of West River Road.
• It will provide additional travel time and stacking distance between the roundabout and the Servant of Christ driveway.
• It will act as an entrance feature to the future West River Road redesign.
• It is cost neutral compared to the 30 mph curve design option; however, the city incurs future traffic calming costs on West River Road estimated at $60,000 to $100,000.
The plan Hanson showed included a concept plan of West River Road that includes a parkway design, a reconstruction of the road to a more curvilinear alignment encouraging slower speeds, and a better integration of the two park areas.
“A resident group got together some years ago and looked at ways to integrate these park areas to find a way to tie them together,” said Mayor Nelson. He indicated the concept plan meets those goals. The concept plan also includes hardscape features, pedestrian facilities and spillway viewing areas as well as vehicle parking for Doris Kemp Park. Additionally, the Hennepin Landing intersection and other intersections could have all-way stop control. This portion of the plan is still just a concept and hasn’t been approved. It is not included in the cost of the roundabout realignment.
“I have always been in favor of the roundabout,” said Nelson. “I think it’s going to slow traffic down and make it a lot safer.”
Councilor Ryan Karasek said he was in fact, not initially a fan of the roundabout but the overall design including the potential for creating something similar to the concept plan in the future won him over.
“Having to slow down to 15 mph for the roundabout will do more than the 30 mph would,” he said. “Aesthetically, with the future park area it will make a nice entrance point.”
The estimated total project cost for the roundabout realignment is $1.054 million, including landscaping of the roundabout. The project will be funded through assessment to benefitting properties, the city’s street light fund, the city’s water fund and from county turn-back funds or the city’s capital improvement revolving fund.
The project will also include a swap of West River Road and Hayden Lake Road from county to city controlled. Jurisdictions will switch so that the count will control Hayden Lake Road and the city will control West River Road.
The project required a super majority, or 4/5 vote of the city council to proceed. The council voted unanimously in favor of the project. The contract could be awarded as soon as July 22 with substantial completion on the roundabout around Nov. 1. A public hearing on assessments would occur in the fall, probably in October.
Contact Mindy Mateuszczyk at [email protected]