Property Owners Get More Answers to Capital Avenue Expansion Questions


Questions still surround an $8.4 million street project in Grand Island.

Wednesday, dozens of Capital Avenue property owners gathered to get more answers.

Although the expansion from two lanes to five won't start until next May, sanitary sewer lines could be going in on the north side of Capital Avenue as soon as this fall.

Right now, Evelyn Brown said getting from her driveway onto the busy road can be tricky. Sometimes it means going east when she'd rather go west.

"Around about, probably about 10 minute jaunt to get to my bank where it was three minutes before," said the Windsor Square Condo Owners Association member.

Capital Avenue is the only way out of the complex.

Brown and others worry construction will make the commute even longer.

But Wednesday, Windsor Square residents were told their way wouldn't be blocked.

After construction, Capital Avenue will have four lanes of traffic going east and west with one turn lane. The project also includes the addition of sidewalks.

Project Manager Scott Griepenstroh said a turning lane is needed right now.

"We have about 9,500 vehicles per day on Capital Avenue. In 20 years that's projected to increase to over 15,000 vehicles per day," said Griepenstroh.

But, traffic won't be moving during at least two phases of the construction when Capital will be closed for a few weeks at either end. Otherwise officials said they'll work on one side of the road or the other to get vehicles moving.

They're working with property owners to lessen the impact to those affected.

"Of those 28 properties only eight do we need to get a permanent easement to put in like a storm drain," said Griepenstroh. "There's 22 that we're getting a temporary easement; which means that when we're done building the sidewalk and shaping the ground to match it we'll be restoring the property back to the way it currently is."

Despite property owners having Griepenstroh's personal cell phone number, questions do remain.

How far south will the expansion go? Griepenstroh told residents Wednesday that it will be close to the current road's edge, which is already close to homes in some areas.

The Nebraska Veterans Cemetery will not be impacted.

Many trees and shrubs will be affected, but project leaders said they'll be replaced.

That's also a concern of Brown's.

"With the bushes and trees probably taken down, hopefully we'll be able to put something up there to buffer the sound of the traffic going by," she said.

Griepenstroh said that traffic will increase.

"This isn't one of those we're going to build it and they will come. They will come," he said.

The project could have been scrapped all together. Griepenstroh said the Federal Highway Bill changed the way funds are given out, cutting dollars to this project dramatically. But, he said, the state Department of Roads stepped up to find other federal funding so it's still 80 percent funded with federal dollars.

Another informational meeting is planned right before the project starts.

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