City hopes cash will help keep J Street project on schedule

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Cash incentives for contractors will help speed things along concerning the upcoming J Street improvement project, scheduled for late summer.

The project will cost about $1 million, with $700,000 coming from federal highway allocation funding and the rest from city sales tax revenue.

Keeping the project moving as briskly as possible is important, said W Design engineer Greg Wolford, as about 22 residences, from Westridge to West 10th, do not have alley access and have only West J to enter and leave the vicinity.

But cash incentives, penalties for going over schedule and providing transportation to elderly residents in the middle of the block will help make the project as bearable as possible, he told the city council at its regular meeting Monday night.

The project, which will re-surface J Street and install handicap accessible curbs, is set to begin in mid-August and will be done in phases to disrupt traffic as little as possible, especially for those who live between Westridge and West 10th, he said.

This means Phase 1, that will close J Street from Westridge to West 10th for about three weeks, will be open only one side at a time for local traffic, to allow residents to enter their home during the construction.

Phase II of the project, from Westridge to Norris Avenue, will take 45 working days, he estimated,. with West Fifth closed for about four weeks.

"This is a tremendous project and the best solution is to get it done as quickly as possible," Wolford said.

As an incentive, contractors will be given an extra $1,000 for each day they complete Phase 1 before three weeks. During any phase of the project, a penalty of $500 will be assessed for each day they go over three weeks for Phase I or over 45 days for Phase II.

The city will also use golf carts or other kinds of transportation for elderly residents who live between Westridge and West 10th and do not have any other way to exit or enter the area.

Another incentive may be that Public Works Director Kyle Potthoff also lives on J Street between Westridge and West 10th and he, too, will be affected by the construction.

"I live across the street from these people and I want to make this as easy as possible for them," he said.

Mayor Dennis Berry asked why the timing of the project will coincide with roughly the same time as McCook Public Schools begin the 2008-09 year.

That's because the project hinges on approval from the Nebraska Department of Roads, Wolford answered. Bids will be taken in late June and depending how quickly the Department approves the plans, the project can begin shortly after.

A public information meeting March 31 that explained the project was well attended, Wolford said, with residents wanting to see the construction successfully completed.

In a related regular agenda item, the council unanimously approved the plans and specifications for the Norris Avenue resurfacing project, set to be completed by Aug. 10, before the J Street improvement project will begin.

Compared to the J Street project, disruptions for the Norris Avenue improvements will be relatively minor. The project will resurface with asphalt Norris Avenue from F to O Streets, the section of the street with center islands.

Wolford estimated that the entire project will take about a week to complete, with various sections of Norris closed temporarily for milling and for about 24 hours for paving.

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