No decision was reached on a proposed widening of Riverside Drive.
Crow Wing County commissioners said Tuesday they wanted more time and asked for the issue to return in two weeks.
Highway Engineer Duane Blanck said he intended to bring the change order to widen the road to the board when design information was received from the contractors, but a letter from Widseth Smith Nolting, Baxter, reached residents first. And the letter indicated the change was a done deal, Blanck said.
Original plans had the road narrowing from 44 feet by the civic center to 32 feet past Ashmun Road to 28 feet as it hugs Ahrens Hill overlooking Gilbert Lake.
Blanck said he suggested the road go to the full width of 44 feet beyond Ashmun Road to the first Ahrens Hill intersection and then have the road narrow to 32 feet. Commissioner Gary Walters, who met with Riverside Drive residents Monday night, said he was supportive of making the road width 36 to 40 feet wide, but he thought 44 feet was too wide.
After years of discussions about the road in the neighborhood, Board Chairman Terry Sluss said his gut feeling is to go with what had already been agreed to.
Blanck said in hindsight -- with the wider road providing a shoulder cars can park on -- he wondered why not provide the same service for the Ahrens Hill neighborhood. Walters said he did not want vehicles to park there anyway.
But commissioners Dewey Tautges and John Ferrari questioned where people would park when there were special occasions at individual households. If this phase of the construction project is not acted upon soon it will have to go in the next phase, Blanck said. He noted the road surface in the area, where the plan also calls for straightening of an existing curve, was removed. But Blanck said a temporary surface could be reinstated. However, he said waiting could mean the county cannot proceed until 2006.
"This has to get done this year," Walters said, gaining nods from Tautges at the board table.
The board wants to take into consideration the neighborhood residents' wishes, Tautges said, but he questioned whether Riverside Drive was really still just a neighborhood road.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.