Hastings residents share transportation concerns

Holly Potts shares concerns over the demolition of the Hastings viaduct. (KSNB)

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Ahead of the city council meeting this week, Hastings Mayor Corey Stutte met with residents to talk about their questions and concerns in the city.

Much of the discussion revolved around the viaduct that was voted to be demolished last month. Many people shared their frustrations with the choice and asked if there was any other option. Mayor Stutte said the city council is approaching the issue from all angles to make the right choice.

“Well I think everyone wants to see a solid transportation and network plan for our community when it comes to growth and I think that that is what a lot of this is about,” Mayor Stutte said. “Whether it was about the old viaduct, turn signals up and down Burlington or just this comprehensive transportation and parking plan.”

The city council members present said keeping the current bridge is not an option because it is potentially deadly. The viaduct has been falling apart and was deemed unsafe after multiple studies.

“Yeah I really was surprised to hear it was a deadly bridge because you know i have not really heard of anybody being killed on that one,” Holly Potts of Hastings said. “But I can see what they're saying that it is kind of a blind curve.”

People also shared issues with the railroad crossings. Some parts of town are finding trains blocking busy roads for long periods of time. Mayor Stutte said they have been talking to the railroad about these issues as well as signing a letter of intent for some quiet crossings.

“Hopefully we'll know more soon. As long as negotiations go well we've got some money budgeted this year to actually start doing some work down on those crossings and we hope to see that happen,” Mayor Stutte said.

BNSF has 60 days to respond to the letter. From there negotiations will begin on how to best implement a quiet crossing and how much it will cost.