CAMANCHE — The city of Camanche will apply for a second grant to potentially aid in funding a roundabout at Seventh Avenue and U.S. 67 in Camanche.
The Camanche City Council unanimously approved a motion to authorize the application for an Urban-State Traffic Engineering Program grant for the traffic safety improvement project. The city already has been awarded a $500,000 Traffic Safety Improvement Program grant, Camanche City Administrator Andrew Kida confirmed Tuesday. The city received the full amount and was rated third out of 48 applications for the TSIP grant, Kida said.
Kida believes every grant application for a roundabout was approved. There were cities that submitted an application for turn lanes that were not approved, Kida said.
The U-STEP grant requires a 45% match from the city. The maximum amount the city can receive for the U-STEP grant is $200,000, Kida said. If the city receives both grants, the city’s financial obligation for the project would be down to around $170,000 to $180,000, he added.
If the city receives the U-STEP grant, the next step would probably be to go to the Regional Planning Association to see if the city can receive a 50-50 match for the remaining cost of the roundabout, Kida added.
If the city does not receive the U-STEP grant, Kida would recommend the city not move forward with the project. The remaining cost, which without the U-STEP grant would be about $380,000, is not an investment the city can afford for the project, Kida believes. If the city is approved for the U-STEP grant, Kida believes council would need to make a decision on whether to move forward with the project at that time.
“We work pretty tightly with the RPA,” Kida said. “If we start asking them to commit money and then decommit money because we’ve had a change of heart, it creates sour grapes, I think to put it lightly. They’re on our team but they put a lot of work into all this stuff. Sure would hate to throw it back at them because we changed our mind or decided we’re not going to do that project.”
City Engineer Dan Solchenberger said the U-STEP grant is a competitive grant but believes the likelihood of the grant coming through for the city is good because it ranked so high for the TSIP grant.
“It goes back to DOT (Department of Transportation) being committed to these projects,” Solchenberger said. “They wouldn’t have given you the $500,000 because they know you were going to come back for the U-STEP money. So I highly doubt that you wouldn’t get awarded the U-STEP money.“
Councilman David Bowman supports implementation of the roundabout, but Councilman Marty Schnoor does not believe the Seventh Avenue and U.S. 67 intersection is any place for a roundabout.
“Believe it or not, a lot of people avoid roundabouts or go a different route... I go up to Dubuque. Even in the city when you‘re coming in there by the hospital, there’s two roundabouts and it’s a race for people going around those,” Schnoor said.
Camanche Mayor Trevor Willis said roundabouts are “the way of the future.” A roundabout is designed to keep traffic flowing without stopping traffic, Willis said. He added it is a safety issue.
“The reason we had this study done is because that ranks higher than most intersections in the state as far as the crash rate,” Willis said. “And you know, far be it from me to question the people who are experts on this stuff who think this is precisely what should go in there.”