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Decade-Long Traffic Issue Delayed, May Not Be Fixed Until 2017

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It's an issue that's gone on for more than a decade, but residents and businesses in Northwest Davenport say they're still waiting for the city to fix it.

Residents who live along Division Street, north of Northwest Boulevard, say truck traffic to and from business on W. 76th Street needs to be diverted away from N. Division St.

"It's a very residential area around here so we're trying to keep it safe," says Kevin Dill.

The city has put a crosswalk on N. Division St. and completed some construction work to lessen the impact trucks have on the road, but Kevin's neighbor, Pat Schilling, says "we need to have a long term solution."

In 2011, they seemed to find one. Kevin, Pat, and others - along with businesses on W. 76th Street and city leaders - worked together to come up with a plan to extend W. 76th Street over to Northwest Boulevard, which would give trucks a direct path to Northwest Boulevard near an access road to Interstate 80. The project was supposed to happen in FY2013, but now the project has been delayed to 2017.

"I understand priorities can change, but when you make a promise like that and it's going to not just affect citizens, but also businesses - it's a win-win for everybody," says Kevin.

"At what point do we step up to the plate and do the right thing for the residents and the business owners?" says Pat.

During Davenport City Council on Wednesday, February 27th, 8th Ward Alderman Mike Matson tried to pass a motion that would direct staff to finding a way to move the project up to FY2015. However, the discussion turned into a war of the wards.

Those for it...

"At least a good faith effort to show the people that we moved it up and took their consideration in so we're moving it up," Alderman Matson said.

"This should have been done a long time ago," 7th Ward Alderman Barney Barnhill added.

...and those against it.

"Before we start pushing anything forward, we got some other responsibilities," 4th Ward Alderman Raymond Ambrose said.

"It is in 2017 for a reason for the funding and stuff," 1st Ward Alderman Nathan Brown responded.

Alderman Matson's motion failed by just one vote. 5th Ward Alderman Sheilia Burrage was not in attendance.

Meanwhile, the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce says extending W. 76th Street would also help the area's and region's economy grow by expanding businesses that are already there and attracting new ones.

"The fact that it's going to be a project that has the potential to provide a good amount of tax base, increased tax base, for the city of Davenport and the Davenport Community Schools and it's one that we need to push up sooner rather than later," says Scott VanDeWoetyne, Director of Governmental Affairs for the Q.C. Chamber.

However, it's not entirely up to the city. The more than $4 million project will be paid for half by the city and half with federal funds, which could be one reason for the project's delay to 2017.