Designs now underway for 5-way roundabout

By Kerrie Lindecker, Tribune Editor,  The Healdsburg Tribune

The city of Healdsburg last week authorized spending nearly $1 million to consultants who will design plans and specifications for a roundabout at the 5-way intersection in central Healdsburg.

The 5-way has been discussed and considered for several years, but gained traction during the Central Healdsburg Avenue Special Study Area Committee proposal.

The plans would reconstruct the 5-way intersection at Healdsburg Avenue, Mill Street and Vine Street, that also includes the railroad tracks and crosswalks into a roundabout.

City councilmembers approved the proposal from GHD, Inc. for $997,204 last Tuesday night.

The design plans will include the roundabout design, but also plans for underground utility work, landscape architecture, right of way engineering, geotechnical investigation and community outreach.

Councilmember Shaun McCaffery said though the cost looks high at first, the plans will be comprehensive.

“When I first looked at the price tag, I thought it looked expensive, but it seems like there’s going to be a complete plan, with all the utilities at a very complicated intersection,” he said.

Councilmember Tom Chambers agreed.

“We are getting a lot of the stuff done up front, and it will be more straight forward moving past this project,” Chambers said.

City staff estimates that the actual construction of the project could cost upwards of $5 million.

The initial cost of the design work will be paid for by Successor Agency Bond Proceeds — money set aside for special projects from the state’s dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies.

A report from city staff concluded: “The roundabout itself with five intersecting streets and a railroad is a very complex project and necessitated a consulting team that comprises a number of disciplines including civil engineering, surveys and mapping, railroad engineering, landscape design, roundabout engineering, construction phasing consulting, and right of way acquisition services.”

Mayor Jim Wood said the community has been discussing solutions to the 5-way for a long time, and approved of last week’s expenditure.

“When I first started on the Planning Commission we were talking about the concept of a roundabout. We’re still talking about it, but we’re moving in a good direction,” he said.

According to the proposal, there will be opportunities for the public education, including a traveling display, presentations at civic groups and a website.