It appears Keokuk is ready to move ahead with a large-scale street reconstruction project.
Several years ago, the city borrowed about $3-million to rebuild Grand Avenue, from 4th Street to Rand Park.
The bids came in much higher than that, though, so the city had to repay the loan, with interest, and put the project on the shelf.
Talk of rebuilding Grand Avenue has resurfaced in recent weeks, culminating in last night’s Keokuk City Council workshop.
The panel spent about 45 minutes weighing the pros/cons of the project: concrete vs. asphalt, round vs. square curbs and potential payment options.
Aldermen did not take a formal vote at the end of the meeting, but the general consensus of the panel seemed to be in support of the project.
Mayor Tom Marion says Keokuk can still use the engineering work from a few years ago, with some minor updates, so bids could go out this fall or winter in anticipation of substantial construction getting underway in the spring.
He says Keokuk Waterworks will start working, beforehand, to replace water mains and lines to avoid damaging the new Grand Avenue in the future.
The project, which will include some sewer separation work, could cost about $4-million.
The sewer work includes the construction of a let-down structure. It would allow separated storm-water to be pushed down the cliff behind Grand Avenue towards the Mississippi River.
Marion says Burlington Northern-Santa Fe has opposed the plan for months because the run-off would have to cross its railroad tracks before reaching the river.
He says the company has since changed its tune and is willing to work with the city by allowing a pipe to run below the tracks or even through them.
Marion says engineers are now determining the best way to cross the railroad tracks.