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Newport outlines 2013, 1014 road improvements

The city of Newport has changed the scope of its multi-year, multi-million-dollar road construction plan to include roads some citizens expressed concern about during a recent neighborhood meeting.

The overall rehabilitation and reconstruction project aims to fix deteriorating pavement on city streets by 2020.

At an estimated $3.7 million, projects for the 2013 and 2014 road construction seasons include milling, overlay, reconstruction and curbing, with the majority of work being conducted on the northeast side of Highway 61.

"We tried to come up with a plan that would get the job done for the least amount of cost and change in the neighborhoods we would be working in," said City Engineer John Stewart.

Slated for this year, Century Avenue and Ford Road will get both street reconstruction and storm sewer upgrades.

2013 work

Roads slated to undergo mill, overlay and curbing this summer include Barry Drive; Ellen Court; Terrace Road; Mark Court; Eighth Avenue; 21st Street; and 10th Avenue.

At a recent neighborhood meeting regarding the road construction projects, a resident inquired about reconstructing the width of Ford Road to allow for parking on at least one side of the road. Currently, the width of Ford Road varies between 20 and 22 feet, which does not allow for on-street parking. In order to accommodate traffic flow alongside parked vehicles, the road must be widened to 28 feet, a recommendation the engineering department added to the project.

The department estimates an added cost of roughly $40,000 to widen the street from 24 to 28 feet.

A property owner on Larry Lane said at the neighborhood meeting that a cul-de-sac would best fit the north end of the street to alleviate concern with the small size of the existing turn-around. However, with the end of the street jutting up against a steep ravine, the required land needed to construct a cul-de-sac is not available.

The engineering department recommended constructing an upgraded turn-around to utilize as much of the available space as possible.

Other projects

The schedule for reconstruction on Second Avenue, between 21st Street and 17th Street, has been accelerated from 2015 to 2014 because residents expressed concern about drainage issues during large rainfalls and snow melting. They said it has become a major nuisance.

An additional street section on 18th Avenue, from Hastings Avenue to Eighth Avenue, and 10th Avenue to a dead end was added to the reconstruction and rehabilitation schedule for 2013, but will require an improvement hearing on May 16 for residents that would be affected by the project.

The engineering department is also expected to evaluate underlying soils in the Wild Ridge Trail area to determine the reason the road is deteriorating faster than expected before construction will begin.

There are likely to be more opportunities in the near future for residents to see design plans and give feedback to the council regarding the construction process, Stewart said.

"We try to do this more than usual to keep the people informed," he added. "The neighborhood meetings have worked out amazingly well. There will be at least one more opportunity for the public to come in and see how the project could impact their property."

The city is anticipating an $887,233 budget for this year's road improvements and a $2.8 million budget for 2014.