City public services manager Gary Butts said Powell officials will talk with residents about the schedule, share project details and discuss how it will be approached.
The meeting “will help neighbors in these areas where the streets are very narrow to go ahead and think about widening those, taking care of the trees that are a problem and tying this all together into a unified area,” said Butts.
Off Mountain View Street, all the new sections of Avenues A, B, C and D are the proper width, but beyond Edmonds Street, the old sections remain narrow to Division Street.
City leaders plan to widen all the avenues so they match the new sections of the streets. The city has the rights of way to widen and finish Avenues A, B, C and D and a small section of Wyoming Avenue, Butts said.
He said the city has seen development on the west side of the avenues affect traffic patterns in the area over the years.
“We’re not making them thoroughfares, we’re just making them back to what the city streets should be,” Butts said.
Streets will be widened by 6 to 8 feet — 3 to 4 feet on each side — eliminating the strips of land and trees that exist between the sidewalk and street.
“We’ll go ahead and extend those through to their proper widths, and that will help keep the safety of the public as far as traveling, because right now they’re very narrow through the old sections,” Butts said. “And it will increase the visibility and get rid of the old-growth trees that are a hazard.”
He said many of the old-growth trees on the original avenues are rotting out from the center.
“They already are a hazard, but over time, they’re going to create more of a hazard,” Butts said.
The trees are also contributing to the avenues’ deterioration, he said.
“They’re lifting the curbs and gutters, they’re lifting the sidewalks, and they’re creating a problem,” Butts said.
Most of the trees causing problems are in the median strip that will be removed when crews widen the streets. Residents will be offered trees from the city to replace those that need to be removed, Butts said.
The new trees will belong to the landowner because they’ll be behind the sidewalks. Currently, the old trees are located in the city’s right of way.
Sidewalk repairs or replacement are the only costs homeowners could incur in the project, he said. If residents want or need to replace sidewalks, the city will remove existing sidewalks for free, and homeowners would be offered the contractor break for replacing them.
“In the city code, all owners are required to maintain their sidewalks, so obviously if their sidewalk is really busted up, it would be better if they went ahead and put in new,” Butts said.
The city work will also include upgrading water mains and taps if they’re needed.
City leaders hope to finish the entire avenues project by 2016.
“Everything is based on funding, as always,” Butts said.
Work on the small section of Avenue D between Mountain View and Edmonds will begin this spring when weather allows, Butts said. It’s expected to take about four to six weeks.
Under the proposed timeline, Avenue A work would be completed in 2013, followed by Avenue B in 2014. Both Avenue C (from Edmonds to Division) and the short section of Wyoming Avenue would follow in 2015. Then the remaining section of Avenue D (from Edmonds to Division) would be finished in 2016.
If funding doesn’t come through each year, the timeline will slide to the next year, until funding is available.
The city is using roughly $60,000 in consensus money from the state to pay for the Avenue D project this spring.
It will cost about $100,000 for each block to be widened to Division Street, with the total cost roughly $600,000, Butts said.
It’s unclear where the rest of the funding will come from at this time.
“We’ll use any funding we can get. If it takes consensus funding, we’ll do that,” Butts said.
Butts said the city is not planning to take out a loan for the project, like it’s doing for the proposed Division Street waterline project.
The city has talked about the need for updating and widening those avenues for years, Butts said — since he started with the city 17 years ago.
“Between the trees and the traffic, it is a big safety issue,” Butts said.
He noted that projects on Division Street and Absaroka Street also have been discussed for years, but there hasn’t been funding available.