Archive for Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Long overdue street improvements still down the road

August 20, 2008

Street improvements on Second and Cox streets have been on the backburner for about 16 years and just as the City of Tonganoxie has finally put it on its to-do list for this year, it appears as though this particular project will have to wait until next summer.

The culprit? Easement acquisitions.

Brian Kingsley, of BG Consultants, the city's engineering firm, said if the bidding started as quickly as possible, construction would be continuing through December and January.

"From an ideal construction standpoint this is not the best time of the year to start a street project," Kingsley said. "The least ideal would be trying to lay asphalt in the middle of winter."

But if there were any delays in acquiring easements the project would be pushed further into the winter season.

He suggested that the city acquire the easements needed before bidding the project. This way the bid process could start in January and the project could begin in the summer of 2009. The council agreed 40 to wait to bid the project until January. Councilmember Steve Gumm was absent.

Kingsley said the same problem would come up with the construction of the skate park. If the bid was advertised this week, construction would start in mid-October and continue through the winter. The council decided not to wait until January - they want the project put out for bid.

Finally, Kingsley presented the council with engineering estimates for the development of East Street between Fourth and Seventh streets. The total cost for the project, with curb and guttering, a sidewalk and 9 inches of asphalt on a 31-foot-wide road, was estimated at $564,968.

During the budget hearings for 2009, the council added the development of East Street as an alternate route for traffic when the Pleasant Street bridge is replaced.

Mayor Mike Vestal said Tuesday that the Second and Cox streets-area project was discussed when he was on the council as a member in the early 1990s.

In other business, the council:

¢ Approved pay request No. 2 in the amount of $52,718.57 to Meadows Construction for work on Second Street.

¢ Approved a special event application for the Tonganoxie High School homecoming parade to be held at 2 p.m. Sept. 5.

¢ Approved payment in the amount of $20,507.88 to O'Donnell and Sons Construction for asphalt on Second Street.

¢ Approved payment in the amount of $37,681.44 to O'Donnell and Sons Construction for asphalt on Pleasant Street.

¢ Listened to a request from Melissa Waters to ask for better speed control in the South Park subdivision.

"We have recently got some 20 mile per hour speed limits put up in our neighborhood, but they are not really doing their job," Waters said. "We have 31 children on our block in about 15 houses and these people are flying up and down our street."

The council said it was up to the Tonganoxie Police Chief's discretion to either patrol the neighborhood more or to request for speed bumps. For the time being, the city would use the mobile radar detector from the county to monitor traffic.

¢ Scheduled a special joint meeting with the Tonganoxie Planning Commission at 6:30 p.m., Thursday to discuss the goals and timeliness associated with the comprehensive plan.

¢ Tabled a decision to hire a Huffman Corridor Consulting L.L.C. to acquire easements for the third phase of Fourth Street.

Mike Kelly, the city attorney, suggested to the council that it might be easier and faster if the city began the condemnation process for the easements instead of negotiations with the homeowners. He said because the issue of Fourth Street has been so contentious with the property owners along the street, he didn't feel many agreements would be reached.

Some members of the council wanted to give negotiations one last shot before starting condemnation. They requested that Huffman Corridor Consulting L.L.C. adjust their fees of $500 per tract, with a $125 fee if no agreement if reached, to a higher fee if an agreement is reached and little to no fee if an agreement is not reached.

The council wanted to compare the cost of condemnation to the cost of hiring someone for easement acquisition.

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