42nd Street project nears completion
SCOTTSBLUFF – Drivers along the heavily trafficked 42nd Street on the north edge of Scottsbluff are noticing all the barricades are down as construction work on the street is almost complete.
The project, which took up the entire 2018 construction season, included a complete resurfacing of 42nd Street from Avenue I to 5th Avenue. Only a small section toward 5th Avenue remains to be finished.
Included in the project are curb, gutter and sidewalks on both sides of the street. Storm water, sewer lines and other underground utilities are being installed as well.
Once completed, the project will run in the $3.2 million range. The city had budgeted $5 million for the work.
“We’ve finished the intersection with The Village because I wanted to be sure that was in before we ended for the winter,” said Scottsbluff Director of Public Works Mark Bohl. “All we have left to do is from The Village to 5th Avenue, get some storm sewer hooked in at the intersection and repaving the street so it should be wrapped up by late spring or early summer.”
A sanitary sewer line also needs to be run from 42nd Street south on Avenue I, connecting into city lines at Highway 26. Bohl said that depending on the weather, that part of the project might be completed this winter.
At a February 2018 city council meeting, City Manager Nathan Johnson said several factors made the 42nd Street project necessary.
The street receives a high amount of traffic and the city had received complaints about the deteriorating condition of the roadway. And with a large amount of business investment in the area, an improved road surface would help drive economic development.
As with any construction project, funding availability is the major consideration when deciding what gets done.
In the November election, Scottsbluff voters rejected a proposed half-cent sales tax hike that would have helped pay for infrastructure projects. New Mayor Raymond Gonzales said the city still has some bonding capacity, but would have to evaluate any new project on a case-by-case basis.
Bohl said the next project the city has been working on is extending the hiking and biking path around the city.
“That pathway is about seven miles long and has a pedestrian bridge over Highway 26,” he said. “Some of the cost will come from state and federal funding. Right now we need to secure easements and right-of-way agreements. I’d like to get those done over the winter. I have 42 parcels I need to look at.”
Eventually, the pathway will connect the YMCA to Riverside Discovery Center, Scottsbluff’s Northwood Park, the high school, Western Nebraska Community College and Regional West Medical Center.
Bohl said any decisions on what projects will be prioritized need to be decided by the city council. But there are a couple of projects he’d recommend for the top of his list.
“One of my priorities would be to repave Avenue B from West Overland all the way north,” he said. “We also need a mill and overlay of East Overland and West Overland from Broadway west. Those streets are in a real need of repair.”