Mayor Chris Beutler today said the record pace of street construction, repair and maintenance will continue this year, with a goal of adding 2.6 miles of new arterials, 10.3 miles of arterial improvements and 427 blocks of residential rehabilitation. And he said the "Lincoln on the Move" initiative is helping to build a "leading edge" community.
"Our transportation network is fundamental to the future of our City," Mayor Beutler said. "It's how we will keep moving Lincoln ahead economically, moving Lincoln forward to maintain livable neighborhoods, moving Lincoln in the right direction on safety and convenience, and moving Lincoln to the top of those national lists for our business climate and quality of life."
Beutler said the City's transportation team uses smart planning and communication to coordinate the large amount of both public and private construction activity across the community. Miki Esposito, Director of the Public Works and Utilities Department, said the work begins months and even years ahead of construction.
"There are many steps and many people involved in that planning and coordination," Esposito said. "We explore whether the project requires more than one construction season; which stakeholders, utility companies, institutions or agencies need to be informed of the project; when is the proper time for construction; and how the project impacts other transportation movements, closures or detours in the City."
Esposito said a weekly "huddle" meeting brings the City transportation team together with utilities and private entities to look at all the projects under way. They look at closures, detours and whether different types of work can be done at the same time. The huddle group also coordinates the public information needed for the projects. For the current 16th Street project, for example, the City mailed 380 letters, distributed over 200 door hangers, held public meetings, partnered with the neighborhood association, installed message boards and updated information on the website. Beutler and Esposito encouraged the public to stay informed on construction activities by visiting lincoln.ne.gov (keywords: projects and closures).
Another example of coordination, Esposito said, is the restructuring of right of way management, consolidating all the functions into a single unit.
"Most people drive, walk or bike every day without realizing the huge underground infrastructure network beneath them -- water lines, fiber optic, gas pipes, electric lines, phone, cable and more," she said. "When construction occurs, it is necessary to locate all of that underground infrastructure in order to avoid hitting them. The new cross-trained team takes advantage of asset management software to map what is located underground and share that data with both the City team and the private sector."
In addition to street work, the City will also be working on other infrastructure projects including sidewalk repair.
"Through our Green Light Lincoln program, we are upgrading traffic signal systems with smart technology that keeps traffic moving more safely and efficiently," he said. "Our right of way team is helping private contractors install miles of new fiber optics to bring high speed broadband service to every business and home across the community. It all comes together as 'Lincoln on the Move,' our program specifically engineered to get Lincoln residents - as well as goods and services - where they need to go safely and conveniently."