The Lincoln City Council was divided over whether or not to delay construction of a large, raised roundabout at 14th and Old Cheney.
The result is to move the project forward.
Members voted 4-to-3 to reject a proposal by Councilman Richard Meginnis that would have diverted approved roundabout funding to go toward street repairs and halt the process until 2024.
“But I believe we should still listen to citizens and I believe most of the citizens in town would like to see a delay on this and be able to move that money into the streets that we have now,” Meginnis said.
Councilwoman Tammy Ward disagreed.
“It’s a public safety issue. I get reminded about it a lot,” Washington said. “It’s hard for me to walk away from the money we’ve invested already as a city and the processes that we’ve already been through.”
The city’s earmarked $10 million for the project already, but Meginnis wanted to dump the $19.4 million originally intended for the first three years of the project into street repairs.
“We’ve got $26 million a year that our citizens transportation group said we needed,” he said. “We’re coming up with 7-9 million with our quarter cent, which is really not enough to stay ahead of taking care of our existing streets.”
Construction on the roundabout it set to begin next year, around the same time construction will start on the South beltway.
Chairwoman Jane Raybould says the process needs to continue since the city is “growing and thriving.”
“It impacts all of us. If we make improvements to the southwest, it’s making improvements to all of our city,” she said. “I appreciate all of the great discussion. I think openness and dialogue are critical.”
The next step is to send the project out for bids.