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The city of Dallas will conduct public outreach about long-term changes to the Levens-W. Ellendale intersection. 

Itemizer-Observer

DALLAS — The city of Dallas will conduct more public outreach on which long-term solution to use at the intersection of Levens Street and West Ellendale Avenue, a roundabout or a traffic signal.

The city recently installed an all-way stop at the intersection as a short-term solution to traffic congestion at the corner near Lyle Elementary School.

“We got that put in just last month, and it’s actually functioning quite well,” said Tom Gilson, the city’s engineering supervisor.  “Traffic is going through there as anticipated.”

He said one drawback is that oversized vehicles — semi-trucks with larger-than-normal trailers or log trucks hauling long logs — can no longer use the intersection because of the placement of the stop signs.

Those vehicles now must use Jefferson Street to get out of town.

In 2019, the city contracted with Keller Associates, an engineering firm, to evaluate the intersection’s performance then and into the future. The firm recommended both short- and long-term fixes. Keller’s short-term recommendation was to install the all-way stop.

Long-term solutions were a roundabout or signal. The city hired the firm to take a closer look at those solutions, Gilson said.

He said the study concluded that a roundabout would cost between $1.04 million and $1.25 million and require the city to acquire .35 acres of right-of-way. That project would also result in multiple utilities that now use the current right-of-way to be moved. 

Gilson added that the Lyle Elementary School sign would have to move, and oversized vehicles still wouldn’t be able to use the intersection.

A signal would cost $781,000 and require minor utility alterations.

“The signal utilizes the existing asphalt infrastructure that we have there,” Gilson said. “Curb-to-curb it would be the same.”

Oversized vehicles could use the intersection again.

Gilson said city staff recommends installing a signal.

“It would be well-received by the community, and we think it would have a lot less impact on the adjacent property.”

Councilors asked if the city sought input from the Dallas School District on the options, and the safety of children crossing the intersection.

“I understand that everybody that has talked to me about this has been in support of that roundabout. I’m not a roundabout guy. I don’t like it,” Councilor Larry Briggs said. “I don’t like the fact that there are crossings for students on each side. But the public is in support of that.”

City Managaer Brian Latta said the district has been contacted and the city could conduct public outreach to explain the options to residents without significantly delaying the project.

“Timing with getting public comment can be done in 30 to 45 days. We would bring this back to the council in the first meeting in November.” he said.  I wouldn’t say that would have a big determining factor in construction costs, by delaying it by that much.”

The council decided to delay its decision to a later date.

“I agree. I don’t think there is any harm done to the project at all, and if it helps to build public support, that’s great,” Gilson said.

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