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Local leaders will form a group to decide what will go in center of Tom McCall/Highway 126 traffic control device

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - City and county leaders met regarding roundabout art options.

Now that local transportation leaders and ODOT have committed to installing a roundabout at the Tom McCall Road/Highway 126 intersection, aesthetic considerations have entered the picture.

The Prineville City Council and Crook County Court held a joint workshop meeting Tuesday evening during which they discussed possible decorum for the incoming roundabout.

"ODOT is the primary funder on the roundabout project, and their primary purpose is transportation, not art or features," explained City Engineer Eric Klann, "so basically the city and the county have the opportunity to decide what we would like that roundabout to look like."

During the preliminary meeting, officials decided to develop a group comprised of three city council members and one county court member that would start the process of determining what type of landscaping or artwork should go inside the roundabout.

"It can be anything from some of the abstract art you see in Bend to just some simple landscaping," Klann said. "Personally, I think it's a wonderful opportunity to kind of create a welcoming entrance into Prineville. Right now as you come into town, it's not the prettiest area. You are coming into an industrial area, and with this, we could potentially have a feature that defines Prineville. For somebody who has never been here, it will be their first experience of what Prineville can be."

The new group would meet with ODOT within the next few weeks to define what the state agency will or will not allow in a roundabout. In addition, the city will define additional criteria for the feature.

"We need to block the vision for a car so they can't anticipate the roundabout, but we want to make whatever feature we put in there designed in such a way that somebody driving a semi-truck can see through it or over the top of it so they can anticipate the roundabout and have an easier time working through it," Klann said.

He added that the process will also include public outreach to learn what artwork or landscaping local residents would like to see.

As this effort takes place, design of the roundabout is nearly complete, Klann said, and ODOT will be opening bids for construction of the project later this summer. Work on the roundabout will likely begin in the spring of 2018 with completion of the project expected by that summer.

"We will work on whatever feature we decide to have after the roundabout is complete," Klann said. "It will be interesting to see where we end up with the project."

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