First roundabout remains in plans

Official said project could start in January if funds are available

Plans for a multilane roundabout have been in the works for the Ohio Drive and Warren Parkway intersection for several years, and the project could begin early next year, said Brian Moen, assistant director of transportation for Frisco.

"We are still trying to move forward to possibly be able to start construction by next January," Moen said. "We've got several projects that are going to be bidding this fall, and if they can come in under our estimates, that should free up the funds where we can get the project started by January."

Money is already earmarked for the design, but finding funding for construction has delayed the project. Moen said if the funds do not come through for a January start, it will most likely be delayed until after a bond election the city is likely to call for in May 2015.

Once construction begins, Moen said the roundabout will hopefully be complete in less than six months.

Studies by the city originally identified three intersections on Ohio Drive that would be ideal options for roundabouts—at Warren Parkway, Gaylord Parkway and Prestmont Place.

Following feedback from residents about possible roundabouts, the Frisco City Council in spring 2013 decided to start by constructing one roundabout before moving forward with all three.

"We want a location that can get a fair amount of people exposed to it, because we'd like to use these throughout the city," Moen said. "This first one needs to get positive buy-in, needs to work well, and get council and citizen support, where maybe we can look forward and do more locations throughout the city."

Moen said many residents have expressed concern about the safety of the intersection and had asked for a traffic signal. He said the city decided it would be a good test case for a multilane roundabout.

Why a roundabout?

Roundabouts are designed to cause less delay than a traffic light. Cars will slow down to go through the intersection but will not have to stop.

Moen said roundabouts have been proven to be as safe or safer than traffic signals.

"I think a lot of people believe or feel that every time we put a traffic light up that it's going to make a location safer than it was before, but if you go look at the data, that's not necessarily the case," he said.

Moen said the city will conduct public education campaigns about roundabout operation well in advance of its opening. He said the city would like to get to the point where instead of retrofitting intersections for roundabouts, they are constructed as part of the original intersection.

"We're at the beginning of the wave, where hopefully we all look back 10 years from now and [the roundabout] is kind of the normal thing that's done," he said.