Montgomery Assistant City Administrator Dave McCorquodale said updated cost estimates were likely the reason for the change in design.
"Like everything related to the construction market in recent years, costs were coming in significantly over the estimates done in the 2020-2021 timeframe," he said in an interview. "Conversations between the city and Commissioner Walker had been focused on the city's participation on a roundabout project, and the idea of a traffic light was considered early on, but deemed to provide less benefit based on traffic volume and patterns at the intersection."
Community Impact previously reported that more than 22,000 cars travel through the intersection daily. A Nov. 9 traffic study predicted an additional 2,748 cars to travel through the intersection by 2023.
McCorquodale said the city wasn't made aware of the decision to change the design. As of Feb. 15, the city was leaning more toward a traffic circle or roundabout.
Precinct 1 engineer Michael Beitler said the estimate for the roundabout came in a lot higher than expected. The original estimate for the project was $500,000. He said that number increased to $750,000.
"The traffic light is estimated to cost around $200,000," Beitler said. "The right turn lane improvements, which we will build in both directions, is about another $250,000."
McCorquodale said while the proposed traffic light installation will be an improvement over the four-way stop at the intersection today, he would have liked to partner with Walker's office on the roundabout.
"We were not approached by the commissioner's office about the project cost increases and didn't have a voice in the decision to eliminate the roundabout design," he said. "While Lone Star Parkway is largely within Montgomery's city limits, it's a county-owned roadway, and they have an obligation to use tax dollars to make improvements they feel are best from their perspective, just as the city does."
Per the county, Montgomery City Engineer Chris Roznovsky said construction is expected to begin in October. Bids for the project will go out by the end of May.