City News

ASHLAND – While it was steamy outside, inside City Hall the hot topic was streets and sidewalks.

At their meeting July 18, the council discussed a proposed traffic analysis scope, bids for paving repair and a proposed eastside paving project.

The council considered a Traffic Analysis Scope study to be performed by the city’s engineering firm, JEO Consulting Group. The study was initiated to look at adding traffic mirrors at the intersection of 16th and Silver streets.

The idea was proposed by residents of the area, who report that it is difficult to see traffic on Silver Street when a driver is stopped at the stop sign on 16th Street going south.

“We all deal with it every day, or fairly frequently,” said Council Member Matt Meyer.

The cost of the study would be $5,450. City Administrator Jessica Quady suggested having JEO look at other streets in the area, including 13th and 15th streets, during the study.

While parking is not a part of this study, the issue did come up during the discussion. Cars parked on the sidewalk at the Lee Sapp Ford car dealership block the view to the west at the corner in question.

“The No. 1 thing on 16th Street itself is cars in the right-of-way,” said Council Member Paul Gossin.

Cars parked in front of the Ashland Post Office can also block the view to the east at the intersection. Council members discussed possibly making the diagonal parking more of an angle to cut down on the blocked view.

“That might be a plus,” said Council Member Jim Anderson.

However, the new parking configuration could also cause problems.

“We also could potentially lose a couple of parking spots,” said Mayor Rick Grauerholz.

Other suggestions included limiting parking near the intersection to compact cars.

Gossin suggested the council speak to members of the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce to find out their thoughts on the issue. The council postponed a vote on the study until their Aug. 15 meeting.

The council approved paying for part of a paving repair project scheduled for the next few months. The work will be done on streets and curb ramps, according to Quady.

They approved only part of the entire bid; a total of $141,576 for work that will be done near the elementary and high school.

The work should be completed before school starts, Quady said. The rest of the project will be discussed at the next council meeting.

The council also discussed an eastside paving project that will include streets, sidewalks and retaining walls. Quady said they are working with the Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD) on the project, which will affect up to 35 houses east of Highway 6.

The city and SENDD will be conducting an income survey needed to apply for grants for the project. The project is still in the preliminary phase, Quady said.

Quady asked the council if they would like to separate the project up into segments or do it as a whole. The council agreed as a consensus to break up the project into smaller projects.

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