Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Design changes approved for Woodside Boulevard

Project could be finished next summer

Express Staff Writer

Citizens review earlier this year plans to improve Woodside Boulevard in Hailey. Photo by Mountain Express

The Hailey City Council authorized Monday a $109,000 expense to JUB Engineers to scale back designs for rebuilding 2.5 miles of Woodside Boulevard.

The council, frustrated by engineering cost overruns, agreed to the expense only if JUB said it would be the last, barring "unforeseen circumstances."

The new design will eliminate 10 bus pullouts, traffic calming measures and a "pedestrian refuge" and reduce sidewalks from 6-foot to 5-foot widths. The changes are expected to bring construction costs down to $3.8 million or less for the total $5.7 million project. If construction bids come in at more than $3.8 million, the city will call a halt to a project that will have cost it $932,000 in engineering costs.

The city expects the Federal Highway Administration to sign off on the revised plans in December while extending authorization of a $3.5 million TIGER II grant the city was awarded last summer.

The City Council plans to put the project out to bid in January. If it moves forward, the city would spend a total of $2.2 million for the reconstruction of Woodside Boulevard.

When the city put out to bid more elaborate designs last summer, construction bids came in at nearly $6.8 million, about $2.3 million more than the $4.5 million that the city had expected.

The city had originally planned to rebuild Woodside Boulevard over a two-year period, but now is planning to complete the project next summer.

Because of changes to the design and the reduced timeline for project completion, the city is facing $47,000 in expenses for "public involvement" that the Langdon Group, a planning company owned by JUB, has estimated will be necessary to prepare Woodside residents for the construction phase.

Landon Group projected estimates have been included in city council documents, but Council members called into question the need for such expenses.

"I can go hang notices on doors myself," said Councilwoman Carol Brown.

Councilman Don Keirn said the city could begin with the public involvement phase by sending out notices in sewer bills.

"That is a communication we have with everyone every month," Keirn said.

The Langdon Group estimates that another $48,000 would be required to continue public involvement during the construction phase next summer.

The council is scheduled to address those proposed expenses at its meeting on Monday, Dec. 5.

In other Hailey news:

( City Administrator Heather Dawson announced to the council that negotiations were under way with four events producers to bring concerts and other events to the Hailey Rodeo Arena next summer, including a major finals rodeo on Labor Day.

( Councilwoman Carol Brown told the council that she met with developer Jeff Pfaeffle and other "interested parties" about Pfaeffle's requested annexation of and development on about 20 acres along Broadford Road.

"We are looking for ways to move forward," she said.

The city is seeking information from the community, the Open Space Levy board and others on how it can establish public access to a river trail on the Big Wood River below Pfaeffle's proposed Colorado Gulch development.

Tony Evans:

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