More roundabouts may be on the way | SierraSun.com

More roundabouts may be on the way

Christina Nelson

With little deliberation, the town council voted to invest time and money into roundabouts at two locations in Truckee.

The California Department of Transportation, after some persuading by town staff, gave the town an extra year to examine the feasibility of a roundabout at the Interstate 80/Highway 89 interchange.

Caltrans was planning on putting a traffic signal at the on and off ramps to Interstate 80, which would cost around $750,000.

“They basically have enough money to slap some lights in and that’s it,” said Dan Wilkins, town public works director, adding that the light installed by Caltrans would not include pedestrian walkways.

If the town can prove that roundabouts are feasible at that location, Caltrans will donate the $750,000 to the construction of a roundabout.

But the planned two-lane roundabout would cost up to $1.5 million, the remainder of the money coming from town funds.

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Although the town council considered shifting priorities for AB 1600 funds, money collected for road work from development, there may be other options, Wilkins said.

But, Wilkins noted, the council needs to decide if it wants to support the construction of these roundabouts now, so the opportunity doesn’t disappear.

The council also decided to support the construction of a roundabout at Martis Valley Road and Highway 267. Approximately $150,000 was set aside for the construction of this roundabout, but more money will be needed, Wilkins said.

Although he could not give an exact estimate for the amount of money the town would have to pitch in, he estimated the total cost of the two roundabouts at $2.3 million.

Citing safety and traffic circulation issues, as well as the preservation of Truckee’s small town feel, council members unanimously supported both roundabouts.

“It’s not only an issue of safety or movement, but also one of ambiance, of feel,” said councilwoman Maia Schneider.