Council approves KDOT bids for new crosswalk at 24-40
Tonganoxie is one step closer to providing a safe way for kids to walk and bike to school.
During the Aug. 24 regular meeting of the Tonganoxie City Council, councilmembers unanimously voted, 4-0, to approve the bids Kansas Department of Transportation let to install new sidewalks in the city and to install a new pedestrian crossing signal at U.S. Highway 24-40 and Northstar Drive.
During KDOT’s Aug. 19 bid letting, the Safe Routes To School sidewalk project received 13 bids with King’s Construction Company placing the lowest bid at $199,193.
The city of Tonganoxie received a $250,000 Safe Routes to School grant to fund the construction of new sidewalks and to fund educational programs to teach local children how to properly walk and ride their bikes to school.
During the city council meeting, Mike Yanez, city administrator, wanted to thank Kathy Bard, assistant city administrator, Bucher Willis and Ratcliff, the city’s planning firm, and BG Consultants, the city’s engineering firm, for working hard to get the grant money.
Steve Petrehn, regional coordinator for Bridging the Gap’s Walking School Bus program, made a similar comment during the Aug. 22 bike rodeo at the Tonganoxie Middle School.
“I’ve been told by the state that Tonganoxie has been one of the best cities so far for getting their paperwork done and having all of their ducks in a row,” he said.
In March, the city contracted with Bridging the Gap for $12,500 to provide support for the educational side of the SRTS grant money. Its contract cost came out of the grant.
While the city was able to save some money with the sidewalks, city leaders were shocked when they saw the sticker price of the new flashing beacons.
The lowest bidder for the intersection improvements came in at almost twice as much as originally estimated by KDOT and by BG Consultants. KDOT estimated the project, which will include flashing signals on U.S. Highway 24-40 indicating a pedestrian is crossing the highway at Northstar Drive, to be $26,000. The city’s engineering firm estimated the cost a bit higher at $27,471. The lowest non-irregular bid came it at $49,354.
The city was given $23,800 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to change the traffic light. The difference would need to be paid out of the city’s coffers.
Asked why there was such a huge difference between the engineering estimates and the actual bid amount, Jason Hoskins and Brian Kingsley had a couple of reasons.
Hoskins said because the project is so small, there were a lot of extra costs associated with it. They both said that extra reporting and regulations associated with the ARRA money might have also played a part in the price.
“There’s a lot of cumbersomeness associated with these funds,” Kingsley said.
In the end, the councilmembers decided to move forward with the project instead of waiting until December to possibly rebid the project.
“Some projects we gain like with the Safe Routes To School project and some projects we come short on,” Councilmember Burdel Welsh said.
The additional funds will come from the money borrowed from KDOT for improvements at U.S. Highway 24-40 and Main St.
Hoskinson said the Flashing Beacon Project has an early start date of Oct. 5 and a late start date of Oct. 19.
He said the contract is set for four weeks of work, but weather permitting, he expects it to be done sooner than that.
He also said the Safe Routes to School Project should be started no later than Oct. 5. He said, weather permitting, the project should be complete within the nine weeks stipulated by the contract.