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Road blocked

A planned road to connect the Menards area to the Jamestown Regional Medical Center may be headed back to the drawing board, according to Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen.

A planned road to connect the Menards area to the Jamestown Regional Medical Center may be headed back to the drawing board, according to Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen.

"The negotiation with one landowner has not succeeded," she said. "We're still hoping but looking at alternative routing."

Andersen said there are four landowners along the route of the road. Three of the four have agreed to easements with the city. Liechty Associates owns less than one-third of the distance of the road and has not agreed to an easement.

Travis Dillman, project engineer for Interstate Engineering, which has been handling the negotiations, told the Jamestown City Council that negotiations were continuing during a Sept. 6 City Council meeting. At that meeting, Dillman said they hoped to have the negotiations and road engineering work done in "two to three months" to seek a contractor in February or March for construction work in the spring or summer.

Preliminary estimates for the road placed its length at about 1 mile and the cost at about $1 million.

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"The big part (of the negotiations) is how much the special assessments are for the landowner," Dillman said.

Preliminary plans for paying for the project had included a delayed special assessment on properties adjacent to the road. The special assessments would be charged to the owners of the properties when the land was developed from its current agricultural use.

Councilman Ramone Gumke said the planned route would create lots visible from Interstate 94, which would be ideal for development.

The City Council had taken no action on the payment plan, and Councilman Dan Buchanan had raised questions of how the bond payments would be made prior to development in the area in previous meetings.

Andersen said a new route would likely make the road longer and increase its cost.

"That compounds the problem of we haven't figured out how to pay for it in the first place," said Pam Phillips, member of the Jamestown City Council.

If a new route is selected, the process of negotiating with landowners and notifying companies with utility easements along the route would begin.

"Even if the route changes, we could still build next summer," Andersen said.

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A second access road to JRMC was identified as one of the top priorities by the Land Use and Transportation Plan completed in 2015. Currently, the only access to the hospital utilizes U.S. Interstate 94. Some travelers to JRMC use 17th Street Southwest. This frontage road runs along Interstate 94 on the north and then crosses the Interstate at the U.S. Highway 52/281 Bypass.

Phillips said many older people don't like driving on the Interstate.

"I know how important it is to get that road done," she said. "A lot of people are counting on another road to the hospital."

Andersen said the project may be added to the Nov. 22 Public Works Committee meeting agenda.

Buchanan and Councilman Steve Brubakken were not available for comment.

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