A special meeting of the Barron City Council has been set for Wednesday, July 28, at 4 p.m. The only agenda item is the “Approval of proposed stoplight intersection controls at the intersection of LaSalle Avenue and Division Avenue (Current City Hall site).
The site is slated to be purchased and used by Kwik Trip for a new convenience store to be built in 2023. This will bring extra traffic to the intersection, creating a need for more traffic controls—either stoplights or a roundabout.
Engineers from Knight Engineering, a consultant hired by Kwik Trip, told the City Council at its July 13 meeting that a roundabout would provide slightly better service for the intersection.
But a major con to the roundabout is cost.
Traffic signals would cost an estimated $753,000, while a roundabout is quite a bit higher in cost at $1.32 million.
“The roundabout is a very expensive endeavor for the city to take on,” said city administrator Liz Jacobson. “It would be at the city’s cost. There would be no funding from outside sources because it’s a city project.”
As part of its agreement with Kwik Trip, the City would pay a maximum of $175,000 for stoplights.
Roundabout costs are generally higher due to the need to purchase more real estate, environmental impacts and the overall cost of design and construction.
Those are of concern at this interaction due to the proximity to the Yellow River and residences. As one resident said at a July 13 public hearing of a proposed roundabout design, “Could you move it to the south so you wouldn’t be in my living room?”
The engineers said the river would constrict where the roundabout could go.
But the stoplights could prove inconvenient for residents of a 20-home mobile home park with a driveway that comes out near the intersection. As the stoplights create lineups at peak traffic time, turning left in or out of that driveway could be difficult.
The public can comment on the matter, and the Council could continue to debate at the July 28 meeting. The meeting is at 4 p.m. at City Hall.