This topic, according to Mayor Keith Snyder was coming up as a
result of work being done on Pulaski Street.
The Pulaski Street project is a multi-million dollar investment in
infrastructure for the city of Lincoln. The project has included
removing old brick streets coated with asphalt, repair and
replacement of antiquated sewer lines, and finishing the road with a
50-year lifespan concrete surface.
Snyder said as work has progressed, it has been noted in a few areas
that the water lines owned by Illinois American Water are in need of
repair or replacement. Illinois American was approached about this
and asked to do the work now, before the new pavement was laid down.
However, the water company said they couldn’t, that it wasn’t in
their budget at this time.
At some point in the future, the water company will have to address
the problems on Pulaski Street. When they do, their work will
require them to tear up a section of the new concrete road.
Snyder said what he wanted was language that would assure the water
company and any other company working on utilities under newly
constructed roadway, that they would be required to replace an
entire panel or section of the road and not be allowed to do a mere
As this was being discussed, several of the alderman showed their
support for the recommendation. Melody Anderson said she felt like
the water company in this case had been given an opportunity to save
money by doing the work now. They had not done so.
Because of this, she felt it was only reasonable that they should be
required to go to the expense of making the road right again once
their work was done. She punctuated her comments saying, “I don’t
want streets that are all cut apart again.”
Marty Neitzel voiced her agreement, and Jeff Hoinacki commented he
like the idea of making a seven year rule. The rule referred to the
length of time for which a road should be considered “new
construction.” With the language Snyder was asking for, after seven
years Pulaski Street would no longer be considered new, therefore
the mandate to replace the entire section of road would not apply.
Neitzel though wondered if seven years was long enough. She noted
that time passes more quickly than one would think. In addition, the
Pulaski Street project is concrete with a much longer lifespan than
asphalt. She suggested the length of time be stretched to 10 years.
The aldermen all seemed to agree with the suggestion.
One big question was how to define a panel. Joni Tibbs said there
had been a similar issue arise in 1991 with the other end of Pulaski
Street. That end had been done in concrete, and the need arose for
utility work. She suggested the city might be able to go back to
meeting minutes from that time and see how it was handled then.
Snyder said the city might also be able to define a panel or
specific section by the existing expansion joints.
Moving on, the next portion of the change in the ordinances involved
the reconstruction of brick streets.
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The city is interested in preserving brick streets whenever
it is feasible. However, Snyder said right now there are
conflicting codes addressing excavation of brick streets. He
said in city code 8-2-6 it states reconstruction of excavated
areas is to be done with new or used bricks of similar shape,
size and color.
However, further into the code in 8-2-12 it states that
excavated brick may be replaced with dyed and stamped concrete.
This topic becomes complicated because the city doesn’t need to
require brick restoration on streets that it doesn’t plan to try
to preserve, but the question then became how to keep track of
what is to stay brick and what can be repaired with another
Snyder asked the council if this part of the request
needed more time for discussion; did the council want to consider
how they would define this rule? Neitzel said, yes, they probably
did need more time.
Scott Cooper commented though that perhaps there should not be a
precise definition of what streets would have to go back to brick.
He suggested that it might be better to evaluate each situation as
It was questioned as to whether that would make more work for the
street department. It was consequently suggested that there were
probably certain streets in town that could be declared historical
and mandated to stay brick. That would lessen the amount of
evaluation the street department had to do.
Anderson said she thought this was not as big an issue as it
appeared. She surmised that department heads were capable of making
that type of evaluation and decision as needed.
Snyder agreed saying the process of excavating the street would
start with John Lebegue in the Building and Safety office and also
include Walt Landers with the Street Department, and those two would
be able to determine what needed to be done.
On the other hand, Snyder said he also liked the idea of going ahead
and identifying historical streets now.
Snyder finally concluded that the brick portion of the request for a
change in ordinance needed to be further examined. He asked the
council if they would separate the new construction portion from the
brick so they could go ahead and vote on the first part next week.
It was agreed that is what should be done. The council will be
expected to vote on an ordinance to establish what new road
construction is, and set the parameters for repair of new roads
[By NILA SMITH]