COLUMBIA — Construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Clark Lane and St. Charles Road won the approval of the Columbia City Council on Monday night.
The St. Charles Road roundabout is phase two of the Clark Lane reconstruction project. The Public Works Department will begin seeking bids from construction companies for the project, spokeswoman Jill Stedem said.
The project budget estimates a cost of $1.6 million, which will come from the capital improvement sales tax approved by voters in 2005. The budget for the project includes $700,000 for design and construction, $500,000 for right-of-way and easements and $400,000 to relocate utilities, according to a July 28 report to the council from Public Works director John Glascock.
A study funded by the city showed that a roundabout would improve traffic at the intersection, as well as reduce crash rates, long-term costs, environmental impact and danger for bicyclists and pedestrians, according to the report.
“Switching from stop signs to roundabouts will help move traffic more efficiently and help traffic flow,” Stedem said.
The city is already building a roundabout at Clark and Ballenger lanes, and is planning a third at St. Charles Road and Lake of the Woods Road.
The council approved the second phase of the project with the understanding that the roundabout will include an exit point into Lakewood Drive to allow access to businesses there.
Phase one of the Clark Lane project began last May and should be completed in the spring. It focuses on pavement, sidewalks, bike lanes and medians for the section of road between Ballenger Lane and St. Charles Road.
The full project was part of the 2005 ballot initiative and has been in the planning phase since then, Stedem said. With significant development of additional businesses and homes in the area, the city felt the proposed changes would help with safety, traffic congestion and other maintenance improvements.
After the city finds a bid for construction, it will go back to the council for final approval. Although Stedem said it still remains uncertain when construction will begin, plans call for finishing the work before Battle High School opens in August 2013.