City double checks Coye Drive alternatives, sticks with original plans
On the request of a local business, Stevens Point officials took one more month to review its preferred alternative design plan for the expansion project of the Coye Drive and Hoover Road intersection, but returned with no new solutions.
The city’s design for the intersection is the best it can get. No matter what happens there, the four adjacent property owners will be affected and the final design plan does the most good for the most people, said Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza.
“We’ve been talking about this one for quite a while and now we’re at the point we need a decision. We talked about it last month, we got a few more ideas, and we took those to the engineers for consideration, but the proposed design that you saw last month is still the best alternative for the most people, the safest access for that intersection,” Wiza.
“Is it perfect? No. Is it the best it’s going to get? Yes,” said Scott Schatschneider, director of Public Works.
The Coye Drive and Hoover Avenue intersection was dog-eared for expansion due to the projected increase in traffic expected from the railroad overpass project directly to the north, on which construction is expected to begin in 2017.
AECOM officials, the engineering firm the city hired to design the overpass, said once the overpass is complete, the corridor’s traffic count will grow.
Bruce Gerland, project manager at AECOM, said the increase in traffic might not happen the day after the overpass is completed, but given available space in the Stevens Point Business Park and how much traffic currently avoids Hoover Road because of the frequent trains, Coye Drive will eventually become very unsafe as it currently sits.
AECOM worked with the four businesses adjacent to the intersection to try and find the best possible alternative with the least amount of impact to the businesses.
However, two businesses – Elmer’s Service Garage and Maher Water – will have to move their eastern Hoover Road accesses because they sit too close to the intersection. Additionally, in the Maher’s case, the city is planning to install a right-turn lane for north-bound traffic onto Coye Drive, making the Maher’s entrance even more unsafe.
Wiza said the Elmer’s Service Garage owners weren’t thrilled about the change, but ultimately accepted the engineering logic behind it.
Bill Maher, owner of the Maher Water building, said customers using the access to the north side of his property onto Coye Drive is unacceptable because heavy traffic from shift changes at Donaldson’s will block the entrance for customers and delivery trucks and moving his Hoover Road access south into a shared access with Graybar would confuse customers, ultimately driving them away.
“I’m hearing the argument that this is a small business vs. a Sentry, a Delta Dental or another big business that we’d accommodate, but I honestly feel we made an attempt to work with (the businesses adjacent to Coye Drive),” said Jeremy Slowinski, District 6 alderperson. “This is a difficult intersection, there’s no doubt about it. I don’t care if it’s Sentry, I don’t care if it’s Maher’s, this a difficult intersection.
“I brought a lot of concerns forward last month regarding how we work with them, and I sat down with (Schatschneider) and looked at the property myself and tried to figure out how to make this work,” said Slowinski. “And I simply cannot see a way to make this work. I firmly believe we have to put that right-turn lane in there. If we’re building this intersection for the future, that’s an absolute must. I feel for the Maher’s that they’re going to lose this access, but I feel there is no (better solution),” he said.
The Stevens Point Common Council will make its final decision on the design plan at its regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18, in the Council Chambers of the County-City Building, 1516 Church St., Stevens Point.