Future course of Chestnut Street is still uncharted

Future course of Chestnut Street is still uncharted This scene demonstrates the situation motorists would face if Chestnut Street was constructed using only its existing roadbed. The maximum road width of the street without purchasing private property would be 19.5 feet with curb and gutter on one side for a total of 21.5 feet. The width of the roadway above, from the power pole on the left to the stone wall on the right, is 19 feet, 10 inches. by David Lias Reports that the Vermillion City Council has abandoned its original design of Chestnut Street appear to be premature.

The Vermillion Plain Talk reported last week that aldermen had agreed to downgrade the street's design at its Jan. 7 meeting.

A check of the official record of the meeting shows that the council merely affirmed made by Alderman Barbara Yelverton to authorize City Attorney Martin Weeks to send a letter to Jeanette Stone to see if she would be interested in selling her property south of the roadway.

City Engineer William Welk indicated at the meeting that Stone had indicated in a conversation earlier that day that she would be willing to part with her property.

What remains unknown is whether Chestnut Street's original design will be modified. The exact width of the street, if the design is changed, also hasn't been determined.

The city council has been contemplating the possibility of attempting to improve Chestnut Street by using only the existing roadbed, and not purchasing any private property.

According to preliminary measurements made Welk, the maximum road width under this scenario would be 19.5 feet with curb and gutter on one side for a total of 21.5 feet.

The critical area is just east of Stone's west property line. If the city obtained some of Stone's property, Chestnut Street likely could be designed with a wider roadbed.

What hasn't been determined is how wide the street would be with the addition of Stone's property, and whether the city would still have to construct a retaining wall between the railroad tracks and the road.

The original design of Chestnut Street calls for a paved road surface that is 24 foot wide, with curb and gutter on both sides for a total width of 28 feet.

The original design closely resembles the standards followed by the state of South Dakota in its road construction design.

"It's the city's call what they can live with," said Ron Peterson, a field construction engineer with the state Department of Transportation office in Yankton. "Our standard is the minimum width for anything is 24 feet. The state doesn't allow anything narrower than that."

The state's minimum standards for new construction are 12-foot driving lane on any roadway in each direction. There are some overlays on older roads, Peterson said, that have 11-foot lanes. Four lane roads that are converted to five lanes may contained some lanes that are 11.5 feet wide.

Surface transportation designers use a federal manual that acceptable nationwide on design of highways called "The Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets," published by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

The manual states that primary access roads, such as Chestnut Street, should be constructed 22 to 24 feet wide, with a two to four foot shoulder on each side.

According to information presented at last Monday's city council meeting, those standards can't be met without purchasing private property in the Chestnut Street region.

The portion of street under scrutiny is approximately one-half mile in length, and provides a link between Dakota and University streets.

The estimated $1.3 million price tag for the project's original design, if approved, is to be funded by $600,000 of city sales tax revenue, the state of South Dakota, and Vermillion's share of Federal Surface Transportation Program funds.

The lion's share of the cost � approximately $900,000 would be used in the original design to construct a retaining wall south of Chestnut Street between the railroad tracks. The wall is required by the railroad if the city decided to pursue its original plan to fill in the slope by the tracks to widen the street to 28 feet.

The project's original design also calls for cutting into the bluff on the street's north side. The maximum cut would have been 11 feet at the back of the proposed curb at a point approximately 200 feet east of Dakota Street.

A number of issues, ranging from safety and lighting to erosion and impact on real estate values, has prompted property owners along Chestnut Street to question the city's plans.

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