On Monday, Spring Hill leaders appeared to reach an agreement to move forward with the preliminary design phase for the construction of a proposed roundabout on Port Royal Road.
Given that the roundabout project was discussed during the non-voting potion of Monday night's city meeting, no votes were casts, however, no objections to pursuing the initial phase of the project were made either.
Proposed to be constructed where Port Royal Road and Commonwealth Drive meet, just south of Duplex Road, the project has been discussed by city leaders and staff for more than 10 years. Conceptualized as a two-lane roundabout, the city has already budgeted approximately $610,000 in the 2021-22 fiscal year budget toward the project.
Spring Hill Senior Project Manager Missy Stahl summarized the initial phase of the project to city leaders and explained that The Corradino Group - an engineering firm - had made a proposal to the city to complete the preliminary design phase for the project at a cost of $160,000.
Stahl also explained that the project as a whole would likely cost $2.5 million, though there would be untold additional costs to relocate utilities, including an 18-inch water line and a storm drain running underneath the road.
"My question to the board is are you all committed to include this project in the next budget years?" Stahl asked the board. "I don't want to spend $160,000 and the project be tabled, so I just need to know from you guys that you all are committed to continue this project over the next two years."
Stahl asked if city leaders would be willing to commit to funding the project through to its completion via a resolution during the next voting meeting.
"I think it would be a mistake to not move forward when we already got multiple corners under construction, the impact's going to be worse if we don't move forward with this project," said Alderman Matt Fitterer.
"If you bring forward a resolution [for this], I'd ask you to bring a second resolution to commit the $2.5 million plus utility [relocation] costs. I never like making budgetary commitments before we get into budget season, but I think this is a case where if we don't address the arterial road, we're going to have significant challenges with the development that's coming online. We need to move forward on this."
Alderman Hazel Nieves, however, voiced concerns over committing to funding projects when the city already has more than a dozen infrastructure projects on the backburner.
Alderman John Canepari shared in Nieves' concerns.
"I kind of agree with Alderman Nieves - we haven't see the CIP (Capital Improvement Priority) list, so I'm going to be very reluctant... I don't think we should commit future budgets with a resolution this far away from when we need the money because we don't know what's going to come up," Canepari said.
"What about Buckner Lane and Port Royal Road, where it takes you a half hour to turn left? That is causing concern right now, so before I commit any money to something that we need down the road, I'm going to say I'll support you $160,000, but you better put something on the books for that intersection because that's a mess."
While the board saw no objections to supporting the initial $160,000 for the roundabout's design phase, a consensus could not be reached on committing to funding the full $2.5 million - at least not by the city's next meeting.