UPDATE: Forum set for Ned Ave. rebuild

Published 5:49 pm Monday, October 17, 2016

NEDERLAND — Nederland residents and business owners will have a chance to learn about a proposed plan to tear up and reconstruct Nederland Avenue.

An upcoming public forum on the proposed project is set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25 at city hall, 207 N. 12th St.

The project includes repairing and resurfacing of the road, underground utilities, drainage improvement, intersections, driveways and aesthetics. The engineer’s estimate is approximately $17 million, city manager Chris Duque said.

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“This has been on our radar for several years. In 2014, city council authorized two separate studies of the planned project. One was of the main roadway and the other was a drainage study,” Duque said.

Back in April, both Schaumberg and Polk Inc. and Action Civil Engineers presented their findings to city council and discussed underlying issues.

“Those businesses (Nederland Avenue) will be extremely interested in what this could be and how it will impact traffic on the avenue,” he said.

Information on the potential scope of work, timelines, impacts as far as the handling of lane closures and transition to business property will be discussed at the forum.

The issue will have to go before voters.

“We (Duque and finance director) are working to finalize issues such as what the debt schedule will look like, how much the cost per year to fund the program. Some debt will be rolling off in the next few years and how this will affect the debt schedule, how much will we have to adjust taxes,” he said.

Duque said the project would cover Nederland Avenue from Twin City Highway to the U.S. 69 frontage road. Some of the problems with the busy road began years ago when the avenue was Nederland Spur and how it was widened. The last resurfacing of the avenue was more than 15 years ago.

“There are a lot of underlying issues and while we’re correcting the road and making a better, smoother surface we will address issues such as drainage as well,” he said.

Steve Hamilton, public works director, explained the road was built in stages and the resurfacing is past its life expectancy. He believes it’s time to investigate all of the issues with the road including drainage issues.

Hamilton said it would take a tremendous amount of work to fix the road the correct way. There is the possibility of a temporary fix that would cost less money but would not take care of the drainage issues. He also believes it’s time to fix all of the problems.

Duque agrees the avenue is past its life expectancy.

“Anybody that drives that street daily sees the problems and that it needs attention,” Duque said. “It needed attention before today.”

The city is hoping residents will come to the forum and talk about the issues and ask questions, good or bad.

“It’s time we talk about it,” he said.

Council must decide by January whether to call for a special election and place the project on the ballot.

Mary Meaux: 409-721-2429

Twitter: @MaryMeauxPANews