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Watford plans four big road projects with surge money

Posted 4/28/15 (Tue)

By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer

With approximately $32 million in surge money, Watford City City Council members decided the best way to serve the needs of the community was to approve four street projects to be built in 2015 and 2016, also known as the ‘Roadway Capital Improvements for 2015 and 2016.’
“The projects are currently being designed,” said Todd Kelley, Watford City engineer. “We hope all projects will begin this year, but most will probably be completed next year. We’re also hoping that the 4th Avenue project (from the water towers to County Road 35) will be completed this year.”
The projects include 17th Avenue NE (approximately one mile in length), 4th Avenue NW (less than a mile in length), 12th Street SE (about a one mile section in length), and 11th Avenue E (two miles in length).
All projects will be bid with both an asphalt and a concrete surface option, according to Kelley. And all of the roads will be built to city standards and will be built wider, will have gutters, and will have city utilities.
“The projects are in various stages of design,” said Kelley. “The furthest projects along are 17th Avenue NE, which will go from Main Street to County Road 36, and 12th Street SE, which will go from the old Highway 23 bypass down to the new Highway 23 bypass. 17th Avenue is currently at about a 90 percent design stage. We hope to bid both projects in May, with construction starting hopefully mid-summer. Essentially the 17th Avenue  project is a second phase because from County Road 36 to County Road 86 - that section was done last year. Finishing out that route will leave a nice paved city roadway.”
12th Street SE will be adjacent to the new Law Enforcement Center. According to Kelley, that’s the main driving force behind the 12th Street project. The city will be doing the utilities first. With bids planned for May, the city is hoping to start construction in June or July. They’d like to have the utilities done this construction season. However, Kelley says the roadway itself, which would include the curb, gutter, and sidewalk, probably won’t be done until next summer.
“Part of our (city) share in moving into the new Law Enforcement Center was to do this project,” stated Kelley. “It’s estimated to be about $8.1 million.”
The next project, 4th Avenue NW,  will hopefully open bids in June with the last project, 11th Avenue E, to open bids in July. All four projects are estimated to cost $41 million.
“Most of our budgets were based on our last construction season,” said Kelley. “We’re hoping the prices go down. We’ve seen prices 10 to 15 percent lower, but there’s a lot of construction taking place right now. And now that the surge money is out, that tends to drive the prices back up, so we’ll have to see when the bids come in.”
In order to stay at the $32 million surge funding budget amount, according to Kelley, the city may have options to do sidewalk and they may not. The city was hoping to get enough surge money to cover all of the projects, but they may have to come up with other options or ways to raise the money themselves.