Waterline, depot projects on tap for 2016 in Baldwin City
As far as big, public, local construction projects are concerned, 2016, and probably 2017, look to be years of digging in Baldwin City.
That will be in contrast to recent years, including 2015 when Douglas County undertook extensive safety improvements to CR 1055 at the city’s northern entrance, and the city, county and state collaborated to realign the U.S. Highway 56/High Street intersection.
The biggest and most expensive local construction project on the horizon is the $1.5 million sewer interceptor from the city’s sewer plant south of Orange Street to the eastern section of the city. Baldwin City interim city administrator Brad Smith said he put in the bank last week the money the city received from a bond sale to finance the project.
The city may make a bit of interest off that money because Baldwin City Public Works director Bill Winegar said it was unlikely installation of the interceptor would start next year.
“Anything’s possible, but that would be very optimistic,” he said. “That looks to be a 2017 project.”
The route of the interceptor that will relieve capacity issues on the east side and serve future growth has not yet been determined, Winegar said. The city will get at that important detail through a study BG Consultants is currently conducting and with the awarding of a design and engineering contract in 2016, he said.
Another project slated for the coming year that will require extensive digging in the community is the replacement about 10,000 feet of old 4-inch cast iron water mains with 8-inch PVC plastic pipe. The new mains will be installed along High Street from 11th Street to the Santa Fe Depot, on Fifth Street from High to Dearborn streets, and Fourth Street from Dearborn to Ames streets.
The City Council agreed to move ahead with that project when Winegar informed it of a Kansas Department of Health and Environment revolving loan program that would provide a $1.47 million loan for the work at 2.2 percent interest.
The project will also add additional fire hydrants and shut-off valves on the newly installed pipe.
Alex Darby, an engineer with Professional Engineering Consultants, told the council this month the KDHE had the money for the loan and that the project would start in the “spring.” It would take four to five months to complete, he said.
Not all the city’s 2016 projects will involve utilities or digging. On tap also are grounds improvements at the city-owned Santa Fe Depot. The city was informed in July 2014 that its application for a Kansas Department of Transportation grant through its Transportation Alternatives program would receive $143,000 for improvements at the depot. The grant required a $70,000 match from the city and its partners the Santa Fe Trail Historical Society, which leases the building from the city, and Midland Railway.
Smith said the project also start in the spring.
“They hope to have it done before Thomas the Tank Train shows up,” he said of the annual early June event.
The project is to:
• Extend the brick train boarding platform and install a platform shelter.
• Add additional exterior lighting.
• Install three disability parking spaces.
• Add landscaping to the depot grounds.
There’s one other project that could be on the city’s 2016 to-do list. In October, the city applied for a KDOT grant to make pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements on the U.S. Highway 56 corridor. Specifically, the grant would be used to replace the current sidewalk on the south side of the highway between Sixth to Eleventh streets with an 8-foot-wide mixed-use trail.
The grant also would ask KDOT for help to upgrade the pedestrian signal on the highway at Eighth Street.
Winegar told the council in October the project would cost an estimated $374,000. The grant could provide up to 80 percent of the cost of the proposed improvements.
It would be March before the city learned whether the grant was approved, Winegar said.