City officials opened construction bids on May 15 for a project that was supposed to be completed last fall. Brian Faust, Gardner public works director, said plans to renovate the intersection at U.S. 56 Highway and Center Street should be finished in late October.
The $1.2 million project was delayed last fall, in part, as the city awaited final approval from the Kansas Department of Transportation. Officials inked an agreement for the joint project, which will include realigning the intersection, in 2011. Upgrades will also include expanding the intersection in order to add left turn lanes on Main Street and right turn lanes on Center Street. The project required extensive right-of-way acquisition from Bruce Funeral Home and additional right-of-way purchases and easements from Metcalf and Patriots Banks.
Faust said now that bids on the project have been opened, council will need to approve the contract with one of the bidders. Although Faust didn’t list the bidders or bids, he said several of the five bids came in under the budgeted $1.2 million. As part of KDOT’s Corridor Management program, the state has agreed to fund up to $870,000 of construction costs and improvements. The city will pay up to $350,000 in project costs.
Faust said he will ask the city council to authorize a contract for the construction during the June 2 council meeting.
“We would then notify KDOT and ask for their concurrence,” he explained.
Only then would the city notify the contractor that work can begin on the project.
“We would anticipate that in mid-to-late June,” Faust said. “The contractor then has four months to complete the contract.”
Some parts of the project are weather dependent, he said. Weather concerns ultimately delayed the project last fall. As city officials awaited KDOT approval of renovation plans, fall turned to winter ending the construction season. However, that’s unlikely to occur this year, Faust said. The most likely cause for delay this year is that the signal light poles take up to 90 days for delivery. One traffic signal at the intersection was damaged in a drive-off accident last winter.
“We’ve got a temporary (light) pole out there,” Faust said. “But we can make the improvements to the road. We can do the striping.”
There’s a lot of work the contractor can do while awaiting arrival of the new light poles.
“There’s some sewer work and street widening,” Faust said. “But the poles probably won’t be delivered until September.”
Even if new poles take longer than 90 days to arrive, Faust is confident the bulk of the project will be completed this year.
“We can put the poles in in December or January if needed,” he said. “We don’t think that will happen. We’re fairly confident we can get it all done this year.”