More information was shared about the planned roundabout at 51st and Drexel at the January 8, 2019 meeting of the Franklin Common Council. Brad Severson spoke to the Council. He’s from R.A. Smith, the engineering consultant for the roundabout design.
Severson said the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) conducted a study in 2017 of the 51st and Drexel intersection. The study looked at the five year period from 2011-2015.
During that time there were 19 crashes in the intersection. That equates to .7 crash per every one million vehicles entering the intersection. Clearly that raises the very legitimate question of whether a roundabout is even necessary.
“That’s not a huge safety issue,” said Severson, but “it’s one certainly worth looking at.”
Half of the crashes were T-bones according to Severson who said that unusual at a 4-way stop.
According to documentation on the city of Franklin website the design project is, not surprisingly, over budget. There is a 60% project estimate that reflects a construction total of $1,034,000. A previous construction estimate was $825,000. Not included in the higher estimate are land acquisition costs that are unknown at this time. Land from all four corners of the intersection must still be acquired.
Severson said reasons for the increased cost include the SEWRPC study is about two years old and the design has to consider the accommodation of larger vehicles.
Listening to the tape of the meeting one doesn’t get the feeling that there’s a sense of urgency about the cost issue. Franklin’s approved 2019 Capital Improvement Fund includes $1-million for the roundabout project.
If Franklin did nothing at the intersection and simply left it a 4-way stop, Severson told the Council an average delay for a vehicle, from the time it was stopped in line to it finally leaving the intersection would be, on average, 5 ½ minutes which includes the time frame when Franklin High School lets out.
The project is behind schedule. It’s thought the 90% plans will be ready this March and that the bidding process to receive bids will begin this May.
The council voted to direct city staff to begin the land acquisition and bidding processes and also study why costs are higher.
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