Sidney city council approves turn lane on Link 17J at Pole Creek Crossing intersection

SIDNEY, NE — Sidney is making a slight change to its order as work on Link 17J continue. 

City council voted 3-0 to approve the addition of a right-hand turn lane on the southbound lanes of Link 17J at the intersection of Pole Creek Crossing. Council members noted the addition will provide better and safer access to Sidney Regional Medical Center. 

The change will also help with water drainage in the area.

Officials estimate the change will add about $183,000 to the city's bill for the project. It is the more expensive of the two option presented to the city council. The other option had a price tag of $145,000.

City manager David Scott said the more expensive option had multiple benefits over the cheaper option. 

"Maintenance and upkeep wise, the 10 drains with the actual buried storm drain would probably be a lot less troublesome with snow removal and maintenance in the future," Scott said. "It's just more permanent, a little more solid than having something there that could possibly rust or just not last as long as that turn lane should last — 20 or 30 years."

Scott says the other two street projects in town, 13th Avenue and Elm Street, are going smoothly. Due to this, he is confident the city will have enough money left over in its sales tax fund reserved for street projects for the turn lane. This means no taxes would be raised to fund the addition. 

"We're not asking for more money," mayor Roger Gallaway said. "We have the existing funds. We're not borrowing money, we're not asking for more money from taxpayers. It's already part of our street funds."

Work continues on the northbound lanes of Link 17J. City officials said Tuesday they estimate work on the southbound side to begin within the next month. 

Before the turn lane was added, the city's bill for the Link 17J project was about $2.4 million. This is about 20 percent of the total cost for the repairs. The state is paying the other 80 percent.