Tight corner vexes truckers

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February 15, 2018 - 12:00 AM

LAHARPE — A new truck route established by LaHarpe City Council last year is unsafe for drivers turning into town from U.S. 54, one such driver contended.

Jason Schmidt of Nelson Quarries spoke to Council members Wednesday about his concerns related to accessing the company’s property via Monroe Street on the west edge of town.

A tight corner atop a small culvert makes it impractical and unsafe for drivers to enter Monroe from the highway, Schmidt explained.

The corner is so tight, drivers of large trucks often have to turn right from the highway’s inside lane in order to navigate the corner if they’re approaching from the west, Schmidt said.

The city designated Monroe as LaHarpe’s primary truck route in 2017 as an effort to reduce truck traffic along Sixth Street, one of the town’s primary east-west thoroughfares, citing long-term damage to Sixth because of heavy truck traffic, and its proximity to the city park, which has undergone several improvements in recent years.

One particular instance occurred when a Nelson truck towing a piece of equipment scraped the street’s surface, causing extensive damage, Councilman David Lee noted.

The Nelson Quarries property lies at the far west end of Sixth.

Schmidt asked if the city would consider allowing trucks to use Sixth Street under special circumstances, such as when trucks are towing oversized loads.

Council members encouraged the company to reach out to the Kansas Department of Transportation, which would have the final say on whether the U.S. 54-Monroe Street intersection should be widened.

City Attorney Chuck Apt also encouraged company representatives to approach the city with specific permit requests if Sixth Street were required for certain loads; allowing such vehicles at certain times of day, for example.

 

COUNCIL members authorized the sale of $430,000 in general obligation bonds to the Wichita brokerage firm Cooper Malone McClain, Inc., to help pay for a pending upgrade of the city’s electric grid.

Cooper Malone McClain’s bid to pay off the bond debt with a 3.578 percent interest rate was the lower of two received.

LaHarpe will pay off the debt over the next 20 years, with average annual payments of $29,000, through electric meter surcharges.

In addition, the city received a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant to pay for the $830,000 project.

Bids for contractors are due within the next week, with work anticipated to begin shortly thereafter.

 

COUNCIL members voted, 3-1, to approve a mobile home owned by Michael and Tisha Maloney to be placed in the 1100 block of South Washington Street.

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