DSCF9749Some homeowners in East Ely will soon have the option to add a curb and gutter to the front of their property thanks to an agenda item passed by the Ely City Council at their last meeting on Sept. 25.

The item, which passed 3-2 with councilman Dale Derbidge breaking the tie in the mayor’s absence, gives City Engineer B.J. Almberg the authority to start preparing plans to show where the new curb and gutters would go.

According to Derbidge, the plans will save the city money in the long-term since the new curbs would narrow the streets, reducing their overall costs to maintain.

“Some of the streets in East Ely were laid in years ago at 80 feet wide. Some of them dead end. There is no need for it when the costs are so high,” Derbidge said.

Almberg stated in the council meeting that the new curb and gutters, if added on both sides of the street, would narrow some of the roadways down to 40-60 feet wide, which would bring them into compliance with the city’s code. Dave Berky from the city’s Street Department estimated that narrowing would save the city between 15-30 percent on maintenance costs, depending on the road.

Almberg asked for the item to be on the agenda because he said he needed guidance from the city as to where curb and gutter should go for some properties.

According to Great Basin Engineering’s Project Specialist Lisa Friedman, the narrowing of the streets would be a gradual process. She also specified that only smaller city streets and residential streets are currently being looked at and that any narrowing will still allow for plenty of room for drivers.

“All of the roads are big enough to have a curb and gutter. Though the roads will still be smaller, they will still be able to accommodate two lanes of traffic with cars parked on both sides of the road,” Friedman said.

Once the plan is completed, homeowners will be able to request Great Basin Engineering to add new curb and gutters to their property at their own expense. The new gutters, which could extend up to 10 feet into the current edge of the road, will also allow homeowners to expand their front lawns and driveways. Friedman added that the narrowing of residential roads could also provide other benefits to homeowners, such as reduced traffic.

“Part of the justification for keeping the residential streets smaller is that it would keep the majority of the traffic on the main streets,” Friedman said.

Derbidge pointed out however that the city will still maintain the right of way over the extension and that homeowners must agree to maintain the extra property themselves. Councilmen Bruce Setterstrom and Marty Westland both voted no saying that more details were necessary. Sam Hanson and Randy Lee both voted yes and Dale Derbidge broke the tie with a yes vote.