North or south?
That was the question needing answered when Creston City Council and Creston Park and Recreation Board met jointly Tuesday evening with engineers to discuss preliminary plans for a $1.7 million bridge replacement project on Adams Street in Creston.
The current preliminary plans sketched by Calhoun-Burns and Associates show a 10-foot bike/walking path on the north side of this new proposed bridge.
City officials have stated a north-side bridge path would allow the current walking trail to continue along the north side of Adams Street, walkers and runners could then cross the bridge and a new trail could continue north along Cottonwood Street or possibly wind through a future housing development in the Cottonwood Subdivision.
However, John Kawa, chairman of Creston Parks and Recreation Board, lobbied last month that the path be located on the south side of the bridge. Kawa said it’s been the park board’s plan for 10 years to continue the trail around the lake.
“They’ll be looking at a cleaned-up swamp if you put it on the north side, which makes no sense to me,” Kawa said during a council meeting last month.
This disagreement was settled Tuesday following a one-hour presentation from Calhoun-Burns and Associates when Creston City Council voted 6-1 and Creston Parks Board voted 3-0 in favor of a south-side bridge path. The council’s roll call vote was Nancy Loudon, Gary Lybarger, Dave Koets, Marsha Wilson, Randy White and Ann Levine for and Rich Madison against.
No discussion occured Tuesday regarding placing a bike path on both sides of the bridge.
Also receiving heavy discussion Tuesday with this project was the intersection at Lakeshore Drive and Adams Street. Currently, there is a Y intersection there, but engineers have sketched plans to change that to a T-intersection per the recommendation of Iowa Department of Transportation.
Jane Brown, board member with Creston Parks and Recreation, said she’s received concerns from the community about switching from the Y setup to the T-intersection.
“I’ve visited with people about the T-intersection and folks in the community seem concerned about the flow going in and out of the park, especially during big events,” Brown said. “If we don’t have enough width to move in and out of the park, are we going to be in some kind of big log jam there with the T-intersection?”
Engineers said the T-intersection is more safe because the Y setup has more conflict points with “traffic getting into each other.” Engineers said they’d make sure the radius is large enough at the T-intersection to facilitate heavy traffic and larger vehicles.
That said, the parks board voted unanimously and council voted 5-2 in favor of the T-intersection. Roll call vote for the council was Gary Lybarger, Dave Koets, Ann Levine, Randy White and Rich Madison for and Nancy Loudon and Marsha Wilson against.
Loudon mentioned she thinks the public will have a hard time getting used to this change.
Engineers will now get to work re-drawing plans, placing the bike/walking trail on the south side of the bridge. Construction on this bridge project is expected to begin in the summer of 2016.
This project is expected to cost $1.7 million. However, the city received an 80/20 federal grant and other funding to pay for this replacement and the city’s financial commitment for the project is estimated at $365,000, which has already been budgeted.