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Construction will improve bad streets

Staff writer

Planned construction on Adams Street in Hillsboro will dramatically improve drainage on that street and in nearby areas, engineer Darrin Neufeld of EBH & Associates told Hillsboro City Council on Tuesday.

Part of the bid for the project — which runs from U.S. 56 to First Street — will include widening drainage ditches perpendicular to the street, as well as installing larger box culverts beneath the street, Neufeld said. The plans also account for possible future drainage improvements elsewhere in the city.

To get rainwater to those ditches and culverts, the project will also include changing the elevation of the road. The changes will result in one resident’s driveway being below the road, but Neufeld has a plan to drain that resident’s driveway and yard into a ditch that won’t be used as much, and the resident is OK with the plan, he said.

The other major issue with construction is that some residents on the east side of Adams Street will not have access to their driveways for a time during construction. Because there is no alley behind the houses, there is no alternative, Neufeld said. But construction will be done in phases to minimize the length of inaccessibility involved.

The water treatment plant will be one of the locations cut off by the construction. The biggest concern there is that the plant only has enough storage for about 30 days worth of chlorine, Neufeld said.

The project will also include adding a sidewalk on the west side of Adams Street between First and Third streets.

Construction of First Street between Main and Adams streets will be bid separately. The plan for First Street is to have one block undergoing demolition and another block under construction at a time to minimize traffic issues.

“It’s exciting,” Mayor Delores Dalke said. “We’re going to get the two worst streets in town fixed.”

Depending on whether the city adds alternative bids, Neufeld estimated the two projects would have a total cost of between $1.54 and $2.31 million. He said he was trying to estimate on the high side of costs, so the city doesn’t get an unpleasant surprise when bids come in.

The projects would be paid for by reissuing bonds of about $1.8 million that recently expired.

City Administrator Larry Paine said he plans to have a neighborhood meeting for residents of the affected areas to inform them about the inconveniences they will face during construction and what the city will do to minimize those.

Neufeld said bid documents will be ready for contractors by the end of the week, and he hopes to open bids the last week of September. The council will have an opportunity to review bids Oct. 4, and construction could begin mid-October, depending on the weather.

Chamber asks to move sign

Clint Seibel requested on behalf of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce and Midway Motors that the city allow a sign promoting Hillsboro High School championships be moved from its current location by Midway Motors along U.S. 56 to city property about 60 feet south of the southwest corner of Hillsboro Business Park on Ash Street. A similar sign is by the golf course.

Moving the sign would also require a zoning variance, because it is larger than is normally permitted in the city. It was grandfathered in at its current location.

Council member Marlene Fast asked whether moving the sign would diminish its purpose of promoting the town. Seibel said the sign is almost impossible to read going by at 65 mph. By comparison, the sign by the golf course is much easier to read, because it is in a slower speed zone.

Dalke said the sign served an extra purpose as a landmark of where Hillsboro was next to the highway, because there weren’t all of the businesses along or near the highway at the time.

Watson and Fast asked for a chance to see the current and proposed locations before deciding. Further discussion will take place at the next council meeting, 4 p.m. Sept. 20.

In other business:

  • Dalke and council member Shelby Dirks will be the city’s delegates to the League of Kansas Municipalities meeting Oct. 8 through 10 in Wichita. Council members Bob Watson and Byron McCarty will be alternates.
  • A cereal malt beverage license for ALCO was approved.
  • Auditors will present the city’s audit at 4 p.m., Sept. 22. It will be the only item on the agenda at that special meeting.
  • Minutes of the Aug. 16 and 23 meetings were approved.

Last modified Sept. 8, 2011

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