By Bailey Buckingham
A potential roundabout could be on the horizon in Kyle after city council approved the continuation of discussions between Kyle City Manager Scott Sellers and the Texas Department of Transportation.
The proposed roundabout is slated to be place at the intersection of FM 1626 and Dorman Road. No definitive plans have been made at this time, according to Sellers.
Sellers said the area has become a high volume area, especially due to the Austin Community College campus.
Sellers said during a July city council meeting TxDOT had conducted a study, which showed the FM 1626 and Dorman Road intersection warranted a traffic control device.
TxDOT had received multiple complaints regarding the danger of that road, which prompted them to move forward with the warrant study.
Kyle had previously worked with TxDOT on a roundabout at the Kohler’s Crossing and FM 1626 intersection. The roundabout project stalled, with a traffic signal installed instead.
Due to the previous plans and studies done at the Kohler’s Crossing intersection, TxDOT informed Sellers a roundabout could be a benefit to the community if installed at the FM 1626 and Dorman intersection.
“The statistics for all the types of accidents that occur at a roundabout, revealed that roundabouts are safer and they move traffic more efficiently through intersections,” Sellers said.
TxDOT mentioned, but didn’t guarantee, possible funding to pay for the roundabout.
Sellers said the roundabout cost for 1626 and Kohler’s was around $750,000; he believes the proposed structure at Dorman could cost less. Discussions on the cost of the roundabout have not yet taken place, as the project is in the early stages of the discussion.
Sellers said TxDOT has a fund that covers the cost of a traffic signal when one is warranted, but it asks for local participation for a roundabout due to the cost. Although the upfront cost is higher, Sellers said the overall maintenance cost could make a roundabout cheaper in the long run.
“However, (TxDOT) mentioned they may have additional funds to cover the project, but they also may not have the funds,” Sellers said.
District 6 council member Daphne Tenorio held concerns over the roundabout, as she said in July she wasn’t convinced it could benefit Kyle.
District 5 city council member Damon Fogley, who is an EMS first responder, said he feels it is safer driving through a roundabout compared to traffic signals.
“We can base our decision based on personal experience but, we aren’t engineers, we aren’t experts, and we rely on city staff to help us make a lot of decisions that we make and we rely on TxDOT, who are the experts in this field. So why wouldn’t we rely on them now to help with this decision?” Fogley said.