Concrete Bunkers Causing Snow Removal Problems in Newton

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NEWTON, Iowa – Recently Jasper County Board of Supervisors denied a project request to remove concrete bunkers in the city’s town square due to the price tag.

According to Jasper County Board of Supervisor’s Vice Chair Doug Cupples it is going to cost an estimated $25,000 to remove four concrete bunkers that sit on the town’s square southern corners.

“They were put in by another group, another organization so it makes it difficult for us to possibly spend 25 to 35 thousand dollars to take two corners out, and there is two more corners. In my opinion, it is something that is not our responsibility,” Cupples said.

The city of Newton is in the process of completing its Traffic Signal Improvement Project that spans from West Fourth Street to East First Street.

Public Works Director for Newton Jody Rhone said in order to change the traffic signals along East First Avenue workers had to redo the sidewalks to be ADA compliant and meet federal guidelines.

“One of the biggest things is not going over 8.33 percent in slope, so because of the elevation difference there are areas that required larger bump-outs to meet that slope requirement,” Rhone said.

One corner of the intersection on East First Avenue is designed differently than the other due to the elevation and slope requirements.

Cupples said with the recent snowfall it has been difficult to remove snow.

“It takes a little more work. They have got to stop, use a shovel around those areas. It doesn’t keep him moving like he likes to keep moving, but the other one where they did the curb right he said it was no problem at all,” Cupples said.

The bunkers sit on county property but were installed by the city back in the 1980s.

“It’s up to the county. As far as the city was concerned there was not support a couple of years ago when we started into the design of our traffic signal project to remove those, so we designed to work around those,” Rhone said.

The bunkers are maintained by the Self-Supporting Municipal Improvement District that provides flowers and Christmas trees around the town square.

Chairman on SMMID Bob O’Brien said, “With us maintaining them from SMIDD there might become damage against the bunkers that are there. There might be issues removing them because of the new easement for the handicap accessible sidewalk entrance.”

Cupples said the Jasper County Board of Supervisors said it is open to bringing the discussion back up this spring when they begin creating a new budget.

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