The Town Council has given the go ahead for construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Avenue of the Fountains and La Montana Drive.

At its June 16 regular session the council approved a professional services agreement with Visus Engineering Construction, Inc. in the amount of $569,000, along with an owner’s allowance of $85,000 for a total of no more than $654,000. The owner’s allowance is essentially a contingency in the budget for unforeseen expenses that may arise once construction has begun.

The council vote was 6-1 with Councilman David Spelich dissenting.

According to Public Works Director Justin Weldy, there were four bids with Visus the lowest of those, ranging up to $695,470.

The staff analysis states that improvements at the intersection have been a priority of the council for several years. The roundabout and related median improvements will create safer crossing points for pedestrians as well as improve traffic flow at the intersection. The site includes Town Hall, the Post Office and a new residential development at three of the four intersections. Keystone Homes has plans for improvements on the northwest corner where its development is located.

Resident Bob Shelstrom laid out his opposition to the project for the council.

“From all available evidence and studies this project will result in endangering pedestrians and bicyclists and creating hazards that currently do not exist at the current intersection,” Shelstrom said. “It also does little to mitigate the issue of (turning) crashes, the only type of crash that roundabouts may reduce, and injuries due to the infrequency of such collisions.”

Shelstrom also cited the restrictions the roundabout would create for emergency traffic as well as infrequent truck traffic.

“Clearly this project will make us less safe, will defer funds from pavement maintenance projects with higher merit, and create a negative experience on guest and the community,” Shelstrom said.

Mayor Ginny Dickey said she “very much” disagrees with Shelstrom and the primary concern is pedestrian safety at the intersection.

The roundabout is somewhat different than many in that the plan is an oval rather than round. Public Works Director Justin Weldy said that is because of the additional width on the Avenue due to the pedestrian parkway in the center median.

The construction will require a cutback into the median on Avenue of the Fountains, impacting the landscaped portion, and will require relocation of a sculpture at the plaza entry portal.