Business owners, residents speak up at Business 190 project meeting
Fri, 2015-06-05 05:00 News Staff
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Safety, business accessibility and economics were some of the concerns brought up by business owners who attended the city’s first meeting about the proposed Business 190 median project on Tuesday afternoon. Invitations were sent to businesses located within the project boundaries, from Robert Griffin III Boulevard to approximately Dewald Street. City Manager Andrea Gardner moderated the meeting, fielding qestions and offering answers, as did Kevin Dickey of the Texas Department of Transportation’s Waco office. Gardner pointed out on the plan where the 16- foot wide landscaped median will be lcoated, and there will be four-foot wide turnaorund areas at each ends of the median. She told the group the landscapted median will likely contain crepe myrtles and irrigation, although that type of plant is not set yet. The Public Works department is also looking at a tie-in to the current water line project so as not to have to tear up 190, she added. Some expressed concerns if the crepe myrtles were bushes, that it would interfere with visibility for drivers trying to make turns or U-turns at the open areas of the median. Business owners like Rodney Nauert expressed concerns that putting a median in might be bad for business, especially if it limits accessibility. “We’re looking at economics here,” Nauert said. Michael Zehr of Armadillo Properties, which occupies several buildings at the intersection of 190 and Dewald, talked about safety issues, as did a few others. “Our big concern is this intersection,” he said. “Through the years, we’ve seen lots of accidents at this intersection right here. So that’s a big concern, whether a light would need to be put up. You won’t know if they’re going to be making a left turn or a U-turn.” Frank DiMuccio, owner of Cove Feed & Seed, asked if any utilities would need to be relocated. “Basically for a job like this we’ll have to scrape up some of the asphalt where the 16-foot median and the turn lane is. There will not be any real need for excavation,” Dickey said, pointing out that there should not be any conflict with utilities. DiMuccio was also concerned that this project might exceed the money budgeted for it, and referred to the higher-thanprojected costs for the southeast bypass. “Pretty much all we have to do is remove some of the asphalt, pour some curb and gutter, and come back with some planting,” Dickey said. “The $210,000 should be sufficient to cover construction of this.” Instead of the wideopen turning lane or “chicken lane,” that 190 has now, where drivers can make a left turn anywhere, the median will restrict the areas where drivers can turn. Dickey said the median’s turning areas at each end will be at least 400 feet long to accommodate any vehicles waiting to turn left or make a U-turn. “Usually when you get on higher volume roads, we prefer to use the raised median,” Dickey said. He gave an example of a similar raised median in Belton on 317. In addition to obtaining input, another reason for the meeting was also to provide clarification for why this particular project was selected to spend the $210,000 the city received via the Governor’s Community Achievement Award. The main stipulation for spending this award money is that it must go to the beautification of a Texas Department of Transportation roadway. During the meeting, Gardner expressed her thanks to TxDOT and reminded those present this is not the final version of the project. “We have a lot of work to do with TxDOT, a lot of work to do with engineers, before any plan is finalized,” she said. “We aren’t anywhere close to putting out a product for the public to comment on.” The city will hold a second meeting about the median on Monday, June15 at 5:30 p.m. at the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation.