City approves bid for Jennie Barker Road project

Meghan Flynn
Motorists make their way along Jennie Barker Road south of Mary Street as heat waves rise off the road.

The Garden City Commission approved the low bid for the Jennie Barker Road, East Side Drainage Pond and Water Main Improvement project at the commission’s regular meeting Tuesday.

Public works director Sam Curran said there are a lot of moving parts to the project, which started in 2017 after Finney County voters approved the countywide sales tax levy to fund improvements to Jennie Barker Road.

The improvements include reconstructing the roadway to a three-lane urban street section with a 5-foot bicyclist sidewalk, 10-foot sidewalk, street lighting, storm sewer, new reinforced concrete box and common utility trench, Curran said.

The East Side Drainage Pond improvements consist of the construction of a retention pond east of the Jennie Barker Road improvement, extension of the Schulman Avenue 60-foot storm sewer to the pond and re-routing of the “Walmart Ditch” across Jennie Barker Road and the Chappel Heights property to Drainage Ditch 2.

At a joint meeting between the city commission and Finney County Commission in May 2018, a waterline improvement was identified within the Jennie Barker project.

The waterline was not included in the project prior when discussing relocating utilities because no line was present, Curran said.

“The case was made that development of the area will require such a water line and the most cost effective time to build it would be during the construction of the road,” he said.

The wateline was neither added nor removed as part of the Jennie Barker project. It would start at the intersection of Schulman Avenue and Jennie Barker Road and head north to the Walmart ditch to a dead-end waterline.

The low bid for project consisting of the Jennie Barker improvements, East Side Drainage and Water Extension and Improvement was received from Sporer Land Development Inc., with an estimated cost of $7,079,902.80.

The commission approved the bid 4-0.

In other business, the commission rejected a low bid for a project to widen Kansas Avenue as part of a City Connecting Link Improvement Program granted to the city by KDOT.

The commission voted 3-1, with Commissioner Roy Cessna dissenting, to reject the bid and resubmit the project in a future CCLIP application in 2024 or later.

CCLIP projects are funded at 85% KDOT funds, with 15% city funds with a maximum of $1 million from KDOT.

Widening of Kansas Avenue would have started approximately 130 feet east of 3rd/4th Street and proceeded east to approximately 300 feet west of Belmont Place, widening Kansas Avenue to five lanes from Main Street, east to the city limits.

The low, and only, bid received on the project was from Smoky Hills LLC from Salina for $1,158,927, bringing the total cost of the project to $1,501,827.

Curran said the estimate was an increase of $51,397 from the city’s estimated cost of $1,367,534.50.

“One of the reasons why the increase was in the inspection is we had the project for a 90-day completion, they increased that to 130 days, so that increased the inspections for that project,” he said.

Curran said there was concern about the increased cost of the project because there are two other road projects, the 8th Street Project and the Campus Drive Project, that are in the works and there’s a possibility they could go over costs.

Across the state bids have been a little higher, Curran said.

“We're a little concerned that we're right at the limit at 8th Street and we're going to need another $135,000 for the alternates, so we have a little concern about that,” he said. “Then you also have the Campus Drive project coming up for being used as a detour, so there's a few projects that in the list we have some concerns about.”