HJ - 12th and Garfield S Curve

Work to realign the intersection at South 12th and East Garfield streets in Clarinda has included the addition of an S curve. However, during a meeting of the Clarinda City Council Wednesday, March 25, concerns were shared about the curve being too tight for school buses and trailers using the intersection. (Herald-Journal photo by John Van Nostrand)

Design concerns were raised by members of the Clarinda City Council Wednesday, March 25, related to efforts to improve traffic flow at the intersection of South 12th and East Garfield streets in Clarinda.

Council members Austin Ascherl, Jeff McCall and Matt Ridge said they each had local residents contact them with concerns about the S-curves that were created at the intersection. The city undertook efforts to realign the intersection so school buses could better navigate the area.

“The whole reason we did this was to help traffic flow because it was so hard for the buses to make the corner. I know the intersection is lined up now, but the S-curves look pretty tight,” McCall said.

In May 2019, the council awarded the contract for the street realignment project to Crain Construction. However, work on the project was delayed until March 2020.

“I’ve had a few comments about it. I’ve gone down and looked at it. I called the engineer this morning and talked to him, and I talked to (Crain Construction owner) Justin Walter. They’ve assured me it’s going to be fine the way it is. This is the way it was drawn up,” Clarinda City Manager Gary McClarnon said.

Ridge said after an individual contacted him about the new intersection, he looked at the S-curves. He said at first glance they do appear tight.

“The concern is primarily with the buses. We were taking a look at that intersection, in part, due to that traffic. The radii of those turns just, after just a brief look right now, looks like they might be problematic,” Ridge said.

“I had a couple of individuals call me today and voice their opinion on the tightness of the turns for the buses and if anyone is pulling a trailer,” Ascherl said.

Visually, McClarnon said the curves may appear to be tight. However, he was assured by both the engineer and Walters the use of S-curves in cities was not an unusual situation.

“The engineer told me there are cities that pay us money to put in streets like that to slow traffic down,” McClarnon said.

“I would just like to remind people that engineers also designed the bypass. So if you ever tried to turn off the Highway 2 bypass onto Eighth Street, engineers designed that too, and I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work. Just saying, they don’t always get it right,” McCall said.

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