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City proposes cheaper, simpler design for busy intersection

(KOLNKGIN)
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 11:01 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The City of Lincoln is officially moving on from the idea of an elevated roundabout at the 14th and Warlick Boulevard and Old Cheney intersections, instead proposing a simpler design at a cheaper cost.

At a press conference on Thursday, Lincoln Transportation and Utilities (LTU) and Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird outlined a new project for the intersection with a price tag of roughly $26 million.

In late 2019, the project, originally estimated to cost $36 million and feature a two-layer roundabout, was put on hold after initial bids came in around significantly higher. Some bids came in over $43 million, while the cheapest bid received was $39 million.

In total, the project costs had ballooned to an estimated $44.6 million.

On Thursday, officials said the updated design will not feature a roundabout or any elevation, but specific details of what the new plan consists of were not released.

Baird said the new concept will still be able to accomplish the goals of serving more vehicles and providing traffic and trail crossing improvements but at a cheaper price.

“Cost was the major factor. It was a really significant price tag that came in,” Baird said.

Benefits of the new design, according to city officials, include:

  • A simplified signalized intersection
  • Sidewalks and pedestrian connections
  • Improved safety by reducing potential vehicle conflict points
  • Increased traffic flow
  • Additional capacity to serve more vehicles
  • Drainage improvements
  • Traffic signal improvements
  • Trail crossing improvements
  • Business and growth opportunities to the surrounding area

Baird also mentioned public feedback played a major role in the decision-making process. The original plan was strongly contested, both for the scope and the price.

LTU said construction on the new design is expected to start in 2024 and continue through 2025.

The original roundabout project was expected to be completed in Winter, 2021.

The City also laid out its list of proposed construction projects as part of ‘Lincoln on the Move’.

Projects planned for construction through the summer include:

  • North Cotner Boulevard from “O” to South streets
  • Huntington/Leighton Avenues from North 33rd to North 48th streets
  • Rokeby Road from South 31st to South 40th streets
  • Yankee Hill Road from South 40th to South 56th streets
  • McPhee Elementary Neighborhood
  • Culler Middle Neighborhood
  • Sevenoaks Neighborhood
  • Union College Neighborhood
  • 40th and “A” Neighborhood
  • Highlands Neighborhood

Projects currently under construction include:

  • Capitol Beach Neighborhood
  • West Holdrege from Northwest 56th to Northwest 48th streets
  • “A” Street from 89th to 93rd streets
  • Ninth Street from I-180 to “A” Street
  • Rokeby Road from South 77th to South 84th streets

Completed Lincoln on the Move projects include:

  • Havelock Neighborhood
  • Zeman Elementary Neighborhood
  • Southwood Neighborhood
  • North 70th Street from Colfax Street to Havelock Avenue
  • South 40th Street from Highway 2 to Clifford Drive
  • Van Dorn Street from South 84th to South 91st streets
  • South 48th Street from Woodland Avenue (near Highway 2) to Pioneers Boulevard

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