City talks about possibility of moving ahead with bridge over Highway 30 at S-14

Marlys BarkerNevada
Journal Editor

At Monday’s Nevada City Council meeting, City Administrator Elizabeth Hansen referred council members to the report she had written to update them on the Highway 30 task force.

It read: “We did not schedule another (task force) meeting until we had time to meet with the Iowa DOT staff and talk with the Union Pacific Railroad about the final concept. Larry (Stevens, city engineer) and I (Hansen) conferenced with a Union Pacific representative about the proposed plans, and they suggested we put the proposal in writing. We hope to get that letter out by the end of the week. The UPRR said they would respond within a couple of weeks. In the meantime, Larry and I met with Scott Dockstader, Mike Clayton (both of the DOT) and Story County Engineer Darren Moon on May 9. It is the Iowa DOT staff’s perspective that the interchange in Nevada and at 600th is no longer their priority. They have shifted priority to an interchange at 580th.”

Hansen reported the proposed plan showing local connection road was sent to the Union Pacific Railroad for comment last Friday.

She also reported that the Iowa DOT proposes phasing concept 1 for Highway 30 at Nevada as follows and with the following cost estimates:

Phase 1: Put a bridge over Highway 30 from south S-14 to Sixth Street to close S-14, but leave the present Sixth Street intersection with Highway 30 open (estimated cost $8.1 million, city’s portion, $2.5 million)

Phase 2: Do the 600th Avenue interchange and service roads and close the Airport Road intersection when complete ($13.5 million)

Phase 3: Put an interchange at the bridge that will be between S-14 and Sixth Street, then close the current Sixth Street corner when it is complete ($6.8 million)

The total cost of all three phases would be $28.4 million. The plan that the city rejected, after public outcry against it, was estimated at $15.5 million, with the city of Nevada’s portion being $1.5 million, which it had saved over a number of years from federal highway monies that come to the city annually.

Councilman Ray Schwichtenberg said he foresees the city being asked to put at least $5-6 million in as these three phases eventually move forward.

Hansen said in her report that the Iowa DOT staff had agreed that since the environmental study had already been completed in the S-14 area, the proposed phase 1 above could move forward easily with a commitment of $2.5 million or more from the city. “Scott thought it could be done without asking for funding from the Iowa DOT Commission. Now, the Iowa DOT needs a proposal from the city — an approved plan made by resolution, including committed funding,” she wrote. She added, “The council members on the Highway 30 task force (Brett Barker and Brian Hanson) were asked how they would like to move forward, and it was suggested to conduct a work session with the task force (and City Council) for discussion on final concept. As soon as we get a response from the Union Pacific Railroad, we will try to coordinate calendars to schedule a joint work session with the U.S. 30 task force.” Hansen advised council and the task force to watch for a joint work session scheduled in late June.

Council member Jim Walker asked, if the city agrees to phase 1, putting the bridge over Highway 30 and closing off S-14, does that commit them automatically to phases 2 and 3? Hansen said it would not commit the city to the other two phases. Each phase will need its own approval.

In other business, the council:

n heard from Councilman Brett Barker that the Rec Center Task Force had received four bids from architectural firms who are qualified to do community wellness/recreation centers. Of the four, they narrowed it down to two — one from Marshalltown and one from Des Moines — that appear to meet the Rec Center Task Force’s requirements. These firms will be able to do a needs assessment study, talk to various stakeholders, look into funding resources and sustainability and collect citizen input, among other things. Barker said the task force wants City Administrator Elizabeth Hansen and Story County Medical Center CEO Nathan Thompson to sit in on the next meeting in a couple weeks.

n approved a second mosquito fogger purchase for the Nevada Parks and Recreation Department, and also approved a John Deere wide area mower for the department. The mower was on the department’s four-year replacement plan, and was up for replacement this year.