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Design contract with SEH approved by NR city council

Some funding for North 4th Street could come from cost savings on other projects

Getting a jump on the 2017 road construction process, the New Richmond City Council Monday night approved a design contract that will not exceed $118,091 with Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH) for proposed work along North 4th Street from Sharon Avenue to Knowles Avenue.

According to city Public Works Director Jeremiah Wendt, alternative funding sources in the form of two grants for which the city applied were not successful, leaving city officials to move ahead with other avenues of funding.

Though the funding sources have not yet been formalized, Wendt said that monies saved in this summer’s road projects could be rolled over to contribute to the funding for the North 4th Street project.

“Last year the city applied for funding through Wisconsin’s Surface Transportation Program, but was unsuccessful,” Wendt wrote in his summary to the council. “This year, the city applied for funding for the bike/ped elements of the project through Wisconsin’s Transportation Alternatives Program, but just found out that application was [also] unsuccessful.

“Now that we’ve exhausted those funding opportunities we should move forward with the design project. We have laid out a preliminary timeline … the plan moving forward would be … to start the design process now and finish the design through the winter and … bid the project next spring and potentially start construction in 2017.”

Though the city was unsuccessful in gaining grant money for the North 4th Street project, Wendt indicated that cost savings on other projects could be used to help support the North 4th Street work.

“One of the things we will be bringing back … is where those funds will come from. But to give a snapshot of hopefully good news to come, the North Starr and Paperjack projects … [were finished] significantly under budget … we’re about $360,000 to the good on those two projects. So some of those funds then could be rolled forward for this and other projects. But we’ll bring those details back when we have the final numbers,” Wendt said.

The first step taken Monday night was to approve the design contract with SEH so that planning could get under way soon.

“So for now, what we’re proposing is to get started on the design of North 4th Street so that if we choose to start construction in 2017,” Wendt said.

As part of the contract, SEH will help the city in designing up to four options for residents to consider at upcoming information meetings.

Those plans will include the replacement of the roadbed, as well as sewer and water utilities. Buried shallow, much of the sewer and water in that region of the city was constructed as long ago as the 1930s. Because of the shallowness of the utilities, there have been water main breaks along the route. The sanitary sewer is vitrified clay pipe and it’s assumed the water main in cast iron. The replacement of the existing street will depend upon the option selected by a combination of staff recommendations and public approval.

Those options are:

— On-road bike lanes and sidewalk adjacent to the curb;

— On-road bike lanes with a boulevard between the curb and sidewalk;

— Combined off-road bike and pedestrian trail; and

— Sidewalks on both sides of the road.

In addition, plans could include stamped, colored concrete crosswalks and curb bump-outs at two locations: Pierce Avenue and at Washington Avenue.

There will be up to three community meetings planned in the coming months where residents will be asked to attend and review the plans.

More information about the times and dates of these information meetings will be forthcoming at a later time.

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