Highway 75 Detour Recommended in Light of Safety Issues in Phase 1

The Sioux Center City Council met Monday in a regular council meeting. Council held the third and final reading of the proposed two-year water rate increase for the city, and approved the measure. Council also heard a report from Brommer Sanitation in preparation for signing a five-year contract for the city’s garbage disposal. Brommers proposed a rate increase of the base fee for customers from $15.70 to $16.50 per 65 gallon containers, and an increase from $18.90 to $19.85 for a 95 gallon container. The city approved the increase for the new contract with the base solid rate fee to remain the same. These changes will be effective July 1.

Council also approved a budget amendment noting the change is covered by more revenue that has been received. Council approved an agreement with Ahlers and Cooney Law Firm to assist the city regarding an amendment to the Sioux Center Unified urban Renewal Plan.

Representatives from DGR gave a Highway 75 update to council, with a recommendation to alter plans for Phase 2 and 3 of the project. The change is recommended after seeing safety issues with Phase 1. DGR representative Trent Bruce made the recommendation to create a detour for Phase 2 and 3 instead of the planned head-to-head traffic. Bruce says it’s a safety issue, but will also decrease construction time, and cost.

Council members raised many concerns, including access to homes and businesses, since the recommendation would require what Bruce calls “rolling closures”; closures of small sections of the roadway to complete construction on that portion, then moving to the next section. Each section would consist of 4 to 6 city blocks. Bruce recognizes the difficulty this will bring to residents and businesses without back property access, and says they have plans to address that. Businesses will also be impacted, but Bruce says overall, the impact will be less with this plan, and communication will need to be increased to keep the public informed. Mayor Krahling says although the change will be disappointing to the public, it would be silly not to apply the lessons learned in Phase 1 of the project, to the next 2 phases. He says from a safety, time,and cost-savings perspective, shortening the duration of some of the interruptions would be good, and he says he’s willing to take the heat for making the change. He ads the council is not changing their minds because it’s the easy thing to do, but because of many good reasons. Council approved the recommendation.

DGR and the city will plan for more meetings with property owners along the reconstruction area to discuss how this will work in the future. As for now however, construction on Phase 1 is still scheduled to be complete in early 2024.