The Riverside City Council held a special meeting Friday to discuss the ongoing Highway 22 project.
The council members were clearly not happy with the project that has dragged on for more than a year.
City Administrator Christine Yancey set the tone for the meeting when she arrived a few minutes late.
“Stupid light!” she said. “That’s all I got to say.”
Like most Riverside residents, she sat through multiple cycles of the traffic light that limits traffic to a single lane on the highway through town.
The meeting was called to discuss two small pieces of the project – building a retaining wall in front of 381 E. Fourth St. and the width of the sidewalk between Sycamore and Schnoebelen streets.
The retaining wall was requested because homeowner Craig Slay has had multiple times when vehicles crashed into his home because the motorist failed to make the curve.
Slay told the council of a driver doing 70 to 75 mph when he slammed into the home, causing $23,000 in damage. The speed limit on the curve is 35 mph.
“For me, the biggest thing is a safety issue,” Slay said.
The state did not see it the same way. In an email to Mayor Allen Schneider, state transportation department Engineer Jim Armstrong said, “There is no justification related to safety or design criteria to support putting in a retaining wall.”
The council decided to wait until after the project is completed before installing a wall outside the state right of way, perhaps incorporating a welcome to Riverside sign into the design.
Council members had some ideas for what a welcome sign would say.
“Welcome to Riverside; don’t hit this person’s house,” Councilperson Tom Sexton suggested.
“Slow down, live long and prosper,” Schneider suggested.
On the sidewalk question, the council approved a five-foot sidewalk between Sycamore and Schneobelen streets. The council wants the contractor to replace seven sidewalk panels that have been damaged during construction.
The official business out of the way, council members began expressing frustration with the project that began July 31, 2018.
“Here again today … nice day … I saw two guys out there working, and they knocked off at 4 o’clock,” Sexton said.
Schneider asked for a schedule from contractor Triple B on when various pieces of the project will be completed.
Councilperson Edgar McGuire agreed that the schedule needs to be detailed, listing what will be completed on a weekly basis.
“Let them know we are disappointed,” he said.
He added, however, “I know it takes patience. I think in the long run we’ll be happy.”