In what will become a monthly occurrence, representatives from Snyder & Associates came before the Anamosa City Council Dec. 14 to update them on the Highway 151 project to replace the intersection with Old Dubuque Road.
The firm had been asked to provide an updated cost estimate to the council at the previous meeting after the firm had hit their initial $100,000 in cost for services. The latest estimate put the total cost of the project at $8.114 million, roughly broken down into $2.380 million for the overpass bridge connecting the east side of the highway and the west, $5.034 million for roadway improvements and $700,000 in engineering costs. The money for the bridge “includes only the bridge construction costs,” according to the engineer’s documents, while the roadway improvements encapsulated the rest of the construction costs, like the roundabout west of Highway 151 connecting Old Dubuque Road to Parham drive to the north and the new road off 130th Street in the east.
The price tag caused some consternation for council members. Council members wondered if the spur to the west that as proposed would stop short of Knoll Street, which is planned to take a small bridge with a culvert over the creek, was needed at the moment. Council members asked for a price breakdown to see if it made since to hold off on that portion initially.
Others wondered whether the bridge connecting the east and west side of the highway was needed right away.
“Is there a way to not do the overpass?” Council Member Kay Smith asked.
Tim Wallace with Snyder and Associates said the city could do the bridge later, but that price goes up over time. Council Member Jeff Stout felt uncomfortable not going ahead with the overpass.
“My concern though is, if it doesn’t get done now, it’s going to be one of those things...it’s going to get forgotten about,” he said. “I’m all for saving money, but I don’t want to see us get too cheap on this.
Stout said the original safety aspects and the multifaceted plan in using the project to spur development shouldn’t be forgotten about and that when the city moved to close the intersection, they told the public it was with this project coming in the future.
In taking comment from the public, Bryce Ricklefs said while the price tag seems high, the city should keep in mind the positive impacts the city has already seen from the project and the additional benefits that brings down the road. Specifically, Ricklefs pointed to the opportunity for more housing developments, the planned expansion of Scale-Tec and the decision of BluTrack Manufacturing to move their facility to Anamosa, largely due to the future growth potential.
The city is pursuing multiple funding avenues to try to offset some of the cost of the project. During the Dec. 14 meeting, an application for $1.326 million in Statewide Transportation Block Grant funding through the Eastern Central Iowa Council of Governments was approved and should be approved, according to discussions had by the engineers. The city will also be applying for Traffic Safety Improvement Funds, max of $500,000, and Urban-State Traffic Engineering Program Funds, max of $400,000. A loan could also be applied for in the future for any water or sewer infrastructure work as part of the project, which has not been designed yet.
As of right now, the rough outline of the proposed project schedule includes: preliminary design work in March, final plans in September, bid letting for phase one in November 2021, which includes drainage and earth work, construction of phase one in 2022, bid letting for phase two in November 2022, which is the road construction, and construction in 2023.
With the size of the project, Wallace said construction could go into the spring of 2024.