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Fountain Mesa roundabout construction begins Monday

 

Last updated 10/29/2021 at 12:35pm

This sign inside Janitell Junior High instructs students on the new options for walking to and from school starting Nov. 1.

Starting Monday, Nov. 1, construction begins on the roundabout and other road work along Fountain Mesa Road. The public can expect to see the following:

• Lane closures on Fountain Mesa Road from Caballero Avenue to Fontaine Boulevard for road milling.

• NOTE: Traffic shifts to one lane of traffic in each direction

• The Fountain Mesa Road and Caballero Avenue intersection will be converted to a four-way stop

From Monday, Nov. 1, through Wednesday, Nov. 24, work will include:

• Asphalt milling/overlay paving and striping operations on Fountain Mesa Road

• Lane closures and traffic switches on Fountain Mesa Road from Caballero Avenue to Fontaine Boulevard

After Thanksgiving, construction will switch to the intersection of Fountain Mesa Road and Caballero/Fortman Avenue. Overall, the project will last about a year.

The work starting Nov. 1 will impact students who walk to and from Janitell Junior High, in particular, but also Mesa Ridge High School on the other side of Lowe's. In preparation for the new traffic configuration, school officials have been giving students and parents instructions for alternate routes.

In particular, they are supposed to use the crosswalk in front of Lowe's instead of Fortman/Caballero. Students traveling toward Fortman should use walking paths through the school's athletic fields to get there instead of the main road.

Numerous members of the public met with project representatives at Janitell on Oct. 27 for an informational open house. Detailed maps and explanations of the upcoming work were on display, and officials answered questions from the community.

Anyone interested in a closer look at the project or with specific questions has another opportunity, this time virtual. An online open house is scheduled for Nov. 1 from 5-6 p.m. Register for the Virtual Meeting by emailing your name and email address to [email protected] Login instructions will be sent to participants on Nov. 1.

Numerous members of the public have complained that the roundabout will make things more complicated and less safe. Not only do many people not feel comfortable navigating a roundabout correctly, but they worry about pedestrians crossing the roundabout.

Brandon Sullivan, the fire marshal for Security Fire Department, said he expects the roundabout to enhance safety at the intersection. In a video statement posted to the county's project website (www.projectpublic.info/fountain-mesa), he noted other roundabouts in the area and even in proximity to schools have been successful, including one near Grand Mountain School and another at Academy and Bradley. The main reason is that roundabouts force drivers to slow down significantly as they approach the intersection.

"We are very excited about this proposal, as we have had numerous traffic accidents and high-speed issues at this intersection," Sullivan said. "We fully support this design to keep our children and our community safe."

One of the features highlighted for the safety of pedestrians is a set of "Rapid Flashing Beacons" for the striped crosswalk on the southern side of the roundabout closest to Janitell. The other crosswalks will be marked and striped, but without the beacons, because officials say they anticipate most people crossing at the southern portion.

This map shows the location of "Rapid Flashing Beacons" that will light up when a pedestrian uses the crosswalk closest to Janitell once construction is complete next year.

Some new sidewalks will be constructed in the immediate vicinity of the roundabout, but they will not extend all the way up to Fontaine. Officials say there are not enough funds for that. However, the road will be converted into a single lane in each direction. The shoulders will be widened and clearly marked, and drainage along the side of the road will be improved.

There will be a raised median in the center of Fountain Mesa Road on the south side toward the traffic signal in front of Lowe's. Traffic from Mesa Ridge Parkway will have a short distance in which to merge to a single lane.

The median will extend on the north side just a short distance before transitioning to a center turn lane, which will continue all the way to Fontaine.

The project website has numerous other project features explained, along with frequently asked questions. Individuals can sign up to receive regular updates by email. Visit http://www.projectpublic.info/fountain-mesa

 

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