By DAVID A. MANN
Mayor Mike Moore said he’ll push for buried utility lines as a part of a planned 10th Street resurfacing project.
“If it’s something we can afford it would be more attractive,” he said. “I think it’s money well spent.”
Former Mayor Tom Galligan was opposed to the idea, calling it cost prohibitive at $10 million.
Moore believes it would not cost quite that much, though a figure hasn’t been reached. In addition to the costs, he said the amount of right-of-way to be acquired also would have to be considered.
“We are actively working on [the utility lines question,]” said city engineer Andy Crouch. “Very preliminary estimates from the utilities are leading us to believe that it can be completed for something less than $10 million, but there are a lot of details to work out before we have a good handle on it.”
Crouch said the project’s design team at Bernardin, Lochmueller and Associates will schedule a field check meeting with all of the utilities within the next couple of months which should answer some questions.
“The utility companies have understandably been hesitant to give us hard numbers until they have seen at least a preliminary design of the new roadway and the stage one plans that we’ve recently received should give them something that they can start designing their services from,” he said.
DESIGN & ACQUISITION
The city has some time to make these decisions as the project — aimed at resurfacing and widening 10th Street between Penn Street and Reeds Lane — isn’t to get started until 2014.
For now, it’s still in design.
Crouch said the stage one plans, which were received a couple of weeks ago, show a basic design for the roadway alignment and width. Stormwater structures and pipe locations and preliminary right-of-way lines also are in there.
That gives the city an early determination on how much right-of-way will be needed. However, Crouch said the Federal Uniform Relocation Act has guidelines regarding how and when the city can notify certain property owners of their impacts. He didn’t want to give out information on specific properties because violating those rules could put the city at serious risk of losing federal funding.
He did note that almost all owners along that portion of 10th Street can expect to be affected in some way.
The city would start acquiring property in late 2013.
The 10th Street resurfacing project was the subject of a lot of debate last year as business owners and officials wrestled with whether to install turning lanes or grassy center medians as a part of the project.
Business owners wanted the turning lanes but some city officials had backed the grassy medians as a way to spruce the area up. In September 2011, the city announced plans to build a 14-foot center turning lane, with two 11-foot driving lanes on each side.
The road also is to be wrapped with a 2-foot curb and bioswales or tree boxes to catch drainage. Street lights and sidewalks are also in the plans. Additionally, some spots could have small rain gardens or grass swales, depending on space.
The latest cost estimate for the project is $15.3 million, but that does not include land acquisition and any utility relocation costs. Crouch said above-ground relocation would most likely be done at the utility company’s expense if the utility is in the city’s right-of-way. Buried lines would most likely be a cost born by the city.