Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that a design by Felsburg Holt and Ullevig (FHU) has been selected to improve safety and traffic flow at the intersecting roadways at 14th Street, Warlick Boulevard and Old Cheney Road. He said an extensive review process has determined that the elevated roundabout proposed by FHU will best meet the needs of the growing community into the future.
"FHU has engineered the roundabout to satisfy high-level traffic flow from multiple directions while preserving access to local businesses," Beutler said. "The circular overpass allows through movements with ease, and the signalized lower intersection provides local access. This design will move traffic safely and efficiently."
FHU was one of three firms that participated in the City's first intersection design competition in 2012. In January 2013, the Public Works and Utilities Department announced that the review committee would take more time to evaluate the alternatives and to review the operation of the City's first multi-lane roundabout at 14th and Superior. Inexpensive changes involving signage, signals and lane striping were implemented in the summer of 2013. Mayor Beutler said those short-term changes have been helpful, but they will not be able to handle the long-term traffic volume in the growing southwest area of Lincoln.
The City Council has approved a budget of $10 million for the project, which is anticipated to be around half of the total cost of the project. Additional funding for construction will need to be identified as part of the update of the City's Long Range Transportation Plan.
"It is important that we begin now, because we know additional funding for construction will need to be identified," Beutler said. "If we move right now, the new intersection will take six to seven years to complete. Waiting any longer jeopardizes our ability to stay on a timeline that keeps pace with the area's continuing growth. We need to stay ahead of the game."
The intersection is one of the busiest intersections in town handling nearly 38,000 cars per day. Traffic is projected to increase to 59,000 cars per day, a 55 percent increase, by 2040.
"Increasing the capacity of a key City intersection will create even more opportunities for economic growth," Beutler said. "The project is an opportunity to reduce crashes rather than watching them increase. Rather than struggling to keep pace with a future that has passed us by, it is an opportunity to implement a forward-looking solution that will keep us ahead of increased traffic congestion. We are moving forward because it's better to look ahead and prepare, than to look back and regret missed opportunities."
More information on the project is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: warlick).