Vine Street needs repair; city is short of moneyThe city of Hudson has an estimate on what it would cost to rebuild a stretches of Vine and Locust streets and make storm sewer improvements to reducing flooding in downtown area.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
The city of Hudson has an estimate on what it would cost to rebuild stretches of Vine and Locust streets and make storm sewer improvements to reduce flooding in the downtown area.
The estimate was just under $3.15 million in the Vine Street Feasibility Report prepared by Foth Infrastructure & Environment and presented to the City Council on Feb. 27.
But with the city operating under tight state-imposed limits on how much it can tax, and a council adverse to increasing property taxes, there’s little chance of the project being undertaken in the near future.
The city has already committed to a reconstruction of Wisconsin Street from Vine to 11th streets. That project, 80-percent funded by the state and federal governments, has been pushed back to late 2014 or 2015 after it was originally scheduled for 2011.
“I don’t know if we can do both of them,” Mayor Alan Burchill said regarding the Wisconsin and Vine street projects after receiving the Foth report.
Burchill asked consulting engineer Dennis Postler of Foth whether the grant money set aside for the Wisconsin Street project could be re-appropriated for Vine and Locust street repairs.
“It would be hard to do. I could ask the question (of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation),” Postler replied.
Alderperson Mary Yacoub was leery of asking to re-purpose the grant money out of concern that it might delay both projects.
The latest report was a follow-up to a 2010 study of flooding problems in the downtown area. That study recommended a number of storm sewer improvements along Vine Street and neighboring streets and alleys.
“Reconstruction of Vine Street from First to Ninth streets is necessary as a result of these proposed storm sewer improvements,” the latest report says.
It also notes that the condition of the pavement is such that “rehabilitation and/or reconstruction is necessary.”
When asked at the Feb. 27 council meeting where he would put Vine Street’s condition on the state’s 1-10 Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating scale, Postler said he would give it a 3, or “poor.”
The PASER scale says streets rated a 3 need patching and repair before getting a major asphalt overlay. “Milling and removal of deterioration extends the life of the overlay,” according to the authors of the rating system.
When asked, Postler said he thought the condition of Vine Street would deteriorate to a 2 rating in two to four years. Streets rated a 2 on the PASER scale are considered in “very poor” condition. The recommended repair for them is “reconstruction with extensive base repair.”
The proposed improvements to Vine Street also include widening the pavement between Fourth and Ninth streets, where it is currently five feet narrower than the rest of the street.
The proposed improvements to Locust Street between Second and Third streets account for an estimated $295,300 of the total project cost.
Businesses on the south side of Locust in that block are often subjected to flooding in heavy rainstorms.
The study recommends reconstructing the street, installing new curb and gutter, repairing an offset joint in the storm sewer underneath the street, and replacing the inlets with larger ones.
Yacoub asked Postler if he could guarantee that no flooding would take place in downtown neighborhoods if the proposed Vine and Locust street projects were undertaken.
“I’ll never say that,” Postler replied. He did indicate there would be significantly less flooding.
The water wouldn’t be against the buildings on the south side of Locust Street during a heavy rainstorm, he said.
Alderperson Lee Wyland indicated support for proceeding with the improvements as soon as possible. The flooding in downtown neighborhoods has grown worse in recent years, he said.
“You can boat down Locust Street (during some storms),” Wyland said. “It’s just crazy.”
“Every time it rains, you get a foot of water,” he said. “I don’t think anybody expects a guarantee – but something a little bit more normal.”