Many questions will need to be answered before a decision is made whether to make North Lake Avenue a three- or four-lane road. The Storm Lake City Council held a study session last night to discuss it.
Bob Payer of Kuehl and Payer presented the concepts behind a three-lane road, similar to Milwaukee/Flindt east of Lake Avenue which has two lanes for east-west traffic and a center turning lane.
To proceed with planning and engineering, Payer said he would need direction from the council within 30 days on whether to design North Lake as a three- or four-lane road.
Work is planned to begin next summer on the deteriorating roadway. The City of Storm Lake approved an agreement several months ago to accept jurisdiction of North Lake from the Iowa Department of Transportation.
The state is also providing Storm Lake with $905,000 for a complete reconstruction of North Lake Avenue from Milwaukee to approximately 12th Street. Work on the south portion of the road will include a total reconstruction, along with new curbing, gutters and storm sewers. Remaining funds would be used to complete an asphalt overlay project on North Lake north of 12th Street during the summer of 2003.
A temporary asphalt overlay on North Lake's outside lanes was done by Rohlin Construction as part of this year's city street project. City officials hope that will prevent the road from deteriorating into a minefield of potholes again this winter.
Some of the factors influencing a three- or four-lane decision are possible effects construction would have on trees along North Lake and accessibility for both homes and businesses, Payer said. A three-lane road typically would be narrower at 43 feet, he said, and would not require any tree removal. Also, a narrower road allows for more city right of way for dumping snow along the roadside.
On the other hand, to create a four-lane with ideal 12-foot wide lanes, the project would have to be 49 feet wide, which would have a greater effect on existing trees and city right of ways.
Payer also talked briefly about construction stages for the extensive reconstruction project. He said work on intersections at 12th Street and 10th Street most likely would be done first - 12th Street to keep Hy-Vee/Wal-Mart access open and 10th Street to keep a main east-west route open between Milwaukee and C-49.
City council members will study the various options and will make a recommendation to Payer in two weeks at the next city council meeting. A public hearing will also be held in the future on the North Lake reconstruction project.