Signs were put up at each end of S. 18th St. in late June, calling it the Highway of Honor. The street runs from Main Street to the Keokuk National Cemetery and there was recently a trip to resurface the street to make it easier to get to the cemetery, which is the only national cemetery in Iowa.
Progress on this project was made at last Thursday’s town council meeting, when the council approved a design agreement with Shoemaker Haalland.
According to City Administrator Cole O’Donnell, the project will be a complete rebuild including underground utilities and the subbase. He told council that in order to receive a more favorable bid for the replacement of the water main, a separate tender will be held for this work.
The design phase will cost approximately $423,000. The design will be paid for from road user tax until earmarked and bond funds are available. This would include the $960,000 in federal funds that have been set aside for this project. The city hasn’t heard the final say on those funds, but it looks like, for now, the money will likely be approved.
The city will try to secure a repayable SRF loan for the sewer and water portions of the project and Shoemaker will help apply for those funds.
The City could also build a sidewalk on at least one side of the street when the project starts. ADA-compliant sidewalk entrances to the street will be installed, so several council members said the rest of the sidewalk on the north side of the street should be done.
Council member Dan Tillman said the time to do the sidewalk would be when the street is being done. This would save costs, since the workers and materials to do the job will already be on site.
O’Donnell said the only reason sidewalk construction wasn’t already included is that it’s usually the responsibility of the owners of adjacent properties to put the sidewalks up.
Both Brain Carroll along with Shoemaker Haalland and Director of Public Works Robert Helenthal said the sidewalk would already be part of the design. It will be up to the council to approve the sidewalk to be built. Carroll said that would add less than $100,000 to what should currently be just under $3.2 million.
The sidewalk on the north side of the street is more likely to be included in construction plans because there are a few blocks on the south side of the street that currently do not have sidewalks, which would increase building costs. engineering and construction on this side.