City receives update on Waverly Road/Plum Creek Trail project


The Seward City Council heard an update on the Plum Creek Trail/Waverly Road project during its latest meeting.

On Nov. 1, the council heard from Doug Holle of Schemmer Associates, the engineering firm for the project.

Holle said Waverly Road is around 22-24 feet wide. The proposed road project will make it roughly 40 feet wide with three lanes, one being a common left turn lane.

City Administrator Bruce Smith said in a phone interview on Nov. 7 that the city did a traffic study on Waverly Road years ago as part of a strategic plan. With Seward Middle School and new homes off Waverly Road, the city expects its traffic will continue to increase.

“That’s where the growth is going,” Smith said.

The trail, which is a federal aid project, was originally meant to be built on the north side of Waverly Road. Smith said the city purchased land for both the trail and a water line for the middle school, but it did not follow the federal guidelines for buying the land.

Because the city did not follow those guidelines, it is now unable to build the trail on that land. The trail will instead run on the south side of Waverly Road, Smith said.

The trail will be a tight fit between the Waverly Road and the Seward Cemetery on Highway 15.

Because of that, Holle said engineering plans include shifting the road five feet to the north where it runs by the cemetery.

Smith said that this shift will not cost extra money because the road will be the same width, it will just be widened more to the north, shifting the road’s center line.

Holle said the road will curve back south 5 feet to the east of the cemetery, where there will be more space for the trail.

There will be 10 feet from the road to the trail and 5 feet from the trail to the property lines of the nearby homeowners, Holle said, meaning the city does not need to purchase any additional right of way.

The plans indicate that Waverly Road will be consistent in width and pavement as it goes to Karol Kay Boulevard, Holle said.

Originally, these preliminary plans did not extend road construction to the city limit, Holle said. Public Facilities/Capital Improvements and GIS Director John Hughes said this was partly because the city wasn’t sure if the county was on board to continue Waverly Road construction past city limits.

Now, the county is on board. Holle said this area past Karol Kay will transition from the three-lane road to a more rural road to match what the county will do.

The city council passed an amendment to its contract with Schemmer to include the area past Karol Kay Boulevard to the bridge crossing Plum Creek, less than half a mile.

The council also approved an agreement with the Nebraska Department of Roads. City Administrator Bruce Smith said this agreement would allow Plum Creek Trail to cross Highway 15.

The final agreement passed by the council was the Local Project Manager agreement.

Larry Legg, a local project engineer with NDOR, said this is also called a responsible charge (RC) agreement. He said the Federal Funds Purchase project means the Plum Creek Trail/Waverly Road project has to work with the federal government. One misstep can cost time.

The RC agreement would designate a trained engineer to handle the work with the feds in order to make sure the city gets its federal funding and that the project goes smoothly.

Legg said the agreement gives NDOR the authority to give direct counsel to an engineer and to get an environmental study done.

However, the city will still review final plans and approve the resolution for the plan.

“We’re taking responsibility to guide the project through, but you still have local control,” Legg said.