Archive for Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Council OKs Phase III plans for Fourth St.

November 20, 2007

After months of debate, the Tonganoxie City Council has approved the final design and will move forward with Phase III of the Fourth Street improvements.

At its meeting Tuesday, the council unanimously voted to accept the design presented by Brian Kingsley of BG Consultants, the city's engineering firm. Council member Paula Crook abstained from the vote.

"There would only be some minor modification and the project would be ready to bid," Kingsley said.

The plans given to the council after $69,909 worth of redesigns, public meetings and other planning costs, include widening the street from the bridge to Village Street, installing a sidewalk on the south side of Fourth and relocating utilities to allow for the improvements. The design had included the sidewalk within existing right of way, which means part of the sidewalk will back up against the curb.

The last unanswered question for the council was brought up during an Oct. 13 meeting by Tonganoxie Mike Vestal, who thought there might be a possibility the Westar Energy substation would be moved in the near future.

Kingsley contacted representatives of Westar and asked them to speak to the council about the possibility of moving the 50-year-old substation, which would allow city engineers to center Fourth Street so the amount of right of way needed for the street widening, utilities and sidewalks would be evenly balanced between both sides of the street.

Max Garcia, Westar electric distribution supervisor, and Chad Luce, Westar business manager, talked about the situation on Tuesday.

"In the next 10 or 15 years there is no plan to have a substation upgrade or relocation," Garcia said. "Our capacity at that substation is about half right now and to even justify even upgrading it, we would have to have 2,000 houses in service before we can even get close to the capacity of the substation."

With that possibility no longer on the table, the council voted on Kingsley's plans.

"You now have all of the pieces to the puzzle," Kingsley said. "I don't know what else we can discuss or what information we can give you."

Kingsley said that about 85 percent of the construction plans were ready to go and that BG Consultants just needed the council's final go-ahead to continue with the project's third phase.

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