City officials want to move ahead with building a 2 level roundabout at 14th and Warlick. That was clear from the testimony of Acting Public Works Director Tom Casady Monday. He told the city council today that drivers using 7 different intersections in that area need relief. He was responding to a measure under consideration, introduced by Councilman Richard Meginnis, which would delay construction of the roundabout by four years. Meginnis contends that construction of the roundabout and the South Beltway at the same time will cause too much congestion and close off access to southwest Lincoln.
Casady said the project has been under study for 20 years, and is badly needed.
“Traffic volume right now at the busiest of those intersections, 14th and Old Cheney, is just under 40,000 vehicles a day” he said. “The area as a whole has a history of fairly high traffic crashes.”
Casady said experts employed by the City don’t feel the Meginnis ordinance is needed.
“It’s our opinion at Lincoln Transportation and Utilities, as well as our consultant, that there will be very little interplay between the 14th and Warlick project and the various projects that make up the South Beltway.”
Casady’s opinion was backed up by the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. Representative Todd Wiltgen said the roundabout will bring about “the enhancement of safety and reduction of peak hour traffic congestion. It also eliminates the awkward 14th Street and Warlick Boulevard crossover, minimizes private land taken, and it reduces traffic on Old Cheney west of Warlick Boulevard, bringing back its residential character.”
Numerous individuals and representatives of other organizations testified in support of the delay. Taylor Wyatt, representing the Home Builders Association of Lincoln said those intersections are too important to close at this time.
“Construction of the South Beltway will restrict Lincoln along Saltillo, making it important to keep 14th, Warlick and Old Cheney intersections open until the Beltway is completed.”
Diana Schilf, representing the Realtor’s Association of Lincoln, said city officials are rushing to build the roundabout.
“This isn’t a popular solution. It has the very real potential to exceed the $36 Million price tag. And, to construct it before seeing what effects the South Beltway has on traffic flows could be a mistake.”
The Council is scheduled to vote on the proposed delay at its next meeting.