“Another Roundabout Set For CHOMP”

The following story written by reporter, Kelly Nix, appeared in the Carmel Pine Cone on November 3, 2017.

The $10 million roundabout at Highways 1 and 68 was only recently completed, but an agency behind the highly effective intersection announced this week that crews could break ground on a new roundabout up the street just two years from now.

In a Transportation Agency for Monterey County announcement Wednesday, the agency said it hopes to design and build a roundabout at the intersection of Highway 68 and Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in only five years.

“The project could start construction in 2019 if we are successful” getting a taxpayer-funded state transportation grant, TAMC community outreach coordinator Theresa Wright told The Pine Cone Thursday.

The new roundabout, which would Wright said is estimated to cost $12 million, would also be funded by Measure X — a three-eighths percent sales tax Monterey County voters approved overwhelmingly in November 2016. The tax is expected to raise $20 million per year for 30 years to pay for, among other things, transportation projects that improve safety and reduce traffic congestion.

“Measure X will fund part of the roundabout at CHOMP, but our goal is to position the project to leverage other fund sources,” Wright said.

Before Monterey County voters passed Measure X with 67.71 percent of the vote, TAMC had talked about building a roundabout at CHOMP, but it was said to be years away because — at the time — there was no way to pay for it.

Besides the roundabout, the Fort Ord regional trail and greenway and the Marina to Salinas multimodal corridor projects are also slated for construction in the next five years, according to a draft expenditure plan for Measure X presented to the TAMC board this week.

A roundabout at CHOMP would further relieve congestion on Highway 68, which is a breeze to drive on now, even during peak driving times in the morning and late afternoon.

The City of Monterey, which also was involved in the roundabout at highways 1 and 68 and will be involved in the CHOMP roundabout, has had “initial discussions” with hospital
officials, Wright said. CHOMP spokeswoman Brenda Moore said the hospital “supports further discussion, investigation, and study” of the proposal.

Wright, who said the roundabout could take one to two years to build, said TAMC staff would request in December that its board of directors approve applying for the state grant
money.

“We should find out if we’re successful in receiving an SB1 grant in mid-May 2018,” Wright added.

To read the story online, see the Carmel Pine Cone report at: http://pineconearchive.fileburstcdn.com/171103PCA.pdf