Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Broadford Road access to get upgrade

$10,000 spent to secure grant for Bellevue

Express Staff Writer

The road connecting Main Street (state Highway 75) in Bellevue with Broadford Road will get an upgrade within the next three years, thanks to a federal grant issued through the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council.

Preliminary design for the project could begin this fall, with construction beginning in 2015.

The Bellevue City Council authorized a nonrefundable payment of $10,000 Monday to begin securing up to $1.4 million to complete the project, which would rebuild about one-eighth of a mile of road. The project would also include construction of a pedestrian pathway from the Broadford Road bridge to Main Street.

"We could not do this alone," said council Chair Dave Hattula.

The decision to pursue the grant obligates the city to pay for 7.3 percent of the total cost of the project, or about $104,000 over time.

Consulting engineer Brian Yeager said local contractors could rebuild the road for about $300,000. He said the federal contractors have a much higher cost due to environmental statements, materials support and other expenses incurred when dealing with the government bureaucracy. However, Yeager advised the council to go ahead and pursue the $1.4 million grant as it is since the city's out-of-pocket cost would still remain affordable.

"It's not worth the time and effort to try to nickel and dime them down to a realistic cost," he said.

Even under federal direction, Yeager said, the project is likely to cost much less than the federal estimate. Planning Director Craig Eckles said he had Knife River Corp. representatives walk the road and give a rough estimate for the project under federal guidelines. He said the company estimated the total cost of the project at not more than $700,000, which would mean Bellevue would pay about $52,000 over the next few years.

In other Bellevue news:

( Karli Walton and Jamie Bridge were appointed to the five-member Bellevue Public Library board.

( About 140 Bellevue Elementary School students spent several hours May 19 cleaning the bike path, from the bowling alley at the south end of town to Power Engineers in Hailey.

( Volunteers donated time and labor to Chrystal Harper, who will turn 107 next month. She was given fresh new flowers for her garden on Main Street and was so happy she "danced a jig," said Council Chair Dave Hattula.

Tony Evans:

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