Debate on Western Ave. reconstruction project centered on 10-inches of asphalt versus 9-inches of concrete, asphalt will save city $716,072
By JESSICA CRAWFORD • Daily Leader
After several meetings of discussion and tabling a decision in order to gather more facts, the city commission voted to go with J&R Sand to repair Western Avenue with 10 inches of asphalt at a cost of
$3,882,493 at its Tuesday evening meeting. The motion was approved by all commissioners with the exception of Bob Carlile, who chose to abstain.
The total cost of the asphalt repair was $716,072 less than the
$4,598,564 bid for nine inches of concrete from J-A-G construction.
Commissioner Bob Carlile said the start date would have to be some time next spring.
“You have lost the fall start,” Carlile explained to commissioners.
“That is not all bad because of school,” commissioner Dave Harrison replied, showing concern that Liberal High School and West Middle School do sit on Western Avenue.
Public Works Director Joe Sealey informed the commission that the project would take 190 days to complete so it would, at some point, be under construction during school.
Mayor Joe Denoyer added that, hopefully, the project would pass the Second Street intersection by that time.
“You are going to have a 20-inch hole in the ground,” Carlile alerted commissioners.
“That is the concern,” Vice Mayor Tim Long said, “Crossing over it.”
Extra cost may be incurred for construction engineering of the project, Sealey informed the commission. Commissioners agreed this was a needed cost in order to have a well constructed road that will last. Sealey said the cheapest way to go would have a firm on hand only when needed, thus paying by the hour.
“I have talked to three or four different engineering firms and talked to them about what they would do on a per-hour basis,” Sealey said. “They all indicated they would be interested in doing it on a per-hour basis.”
Hall informed the commission of how the project would be funded.
Since this is not a project that KDOT is involved in, the City of Liberal must fund the project completely.
“There would be various funds that we have and various funding methods we could look at, too,” Hall said. “Of course, we could bond.
The others are the general fund be involved and the one-cent sales tax would also be involved. So those are the two primary – we do have a special highway fund, but it would be a combination of those.”
Several commissioners said although they think concrete would probably provide the best quality of road, they could not justify spending an additional $716,072 when the asphalt could still provide a high quality product.
“If you talk to the general public, they are going to say that concrete is going to last longer,” Harrison said. “Now, I am not going to argue that, I think it probably would last longer. But there is $716,000 difference in the projects and I think either one will last a good amount of time.
“If you ask me what kind of house I want, I want a brick house,” he continued. “I don’t live in a brick house. There is a reason for it, I can’t afford a brick house. If money was no object, I think I could make a good solid case for spending the extra money. But money is an object here – $716,000 is a lot of money.”