By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
When Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson guesstimated that an engineering firm to plan a sidewalk along East Washington Street that leads to Wal-Mart would cost about $25,000, he wasn?t very far off.
During the regular Washington City Council meeting Tuesday evening, the council approved a bid from Garden and Associates of Oskaloosa for $13,500 for a field survey and to develop concepts. Once this is completed, it is estimated it will cost an additional $12,000 to prepare plans and specifications for bidding. Hinson said ideally all the work can be completed before budget time to allow the council the option to include the construction costs in the 2019 budget.
?This phase is surveying the highway right of way and getting all the information we need to determine where the sidewalk can be placed,? he said. ?We are looking at both the north and south sides of the road.?
Hinson said Garden was doing survey work for the South 15th project and at the wellness park and he knew that personnel from the firm would be in Washington.
During a special session on Sept. 27, the council instructed city staff to begin looking into hiring an engineer to design the sidewalk and develop updated cost estimates. The previous estimate for the project was about $90,000. Since then additional studies have been done and the new cost is believed to be about $150,000. Hinson also said the council could consider inserting funding for the project in the city?s proposed 2018 bond issue. Hinson said there is about $69,000 for the engineering. He said most of the money would be used to help fund a new trip hazard project.
Hinson said the council had discussed this in 2015 and had applied for a grant for it at the time, which was not received. He said it was always the council?s intent to return to the project. He also said the project had come up several times.
Reflected in the cost, Hinson said, is a 200-foot retaining wall that would have to be built as part of the project. He also said the sidewalk itself is expected to cost about $40 per square yard. Hinson also said there were other challenges for the project, including one property on the south side that the sidewalk would run through, that is not actually in city limits.
He said putting the sidewalk on the south side of East Washington seemed to be the best alternative, but the council could also decide to put the sidewalk on the north side of the road. Hinson said a north sidewalk would add about 1,000 yards to the project. He also said even with signal adjustment and crosswalks, this would also present a problem crossing the busy street.
Council member Jaron Rosien said it seemed ?staggering? for the project to cost $25,000 before it even starts.