City approves contract for traffic facility

By Burk Krohe

City commissioners unanimously approved a design-build services contract for the new traffic operations facility at the intersection of El Paso and 11th streets, north of Fort Riley Boulevard at Tuesday’s meeting. Commissioners also approved an add-on to the project, which they said would be vital in emergency situations.

The facility is to be constructed and operational by mid 2012. City staff encouraged awarding a “phase 2” design-build now to accomplish that goal. The building will replace the city’s former traffic facility, which was damaged by an August 2010 microburst. The facility was deemed inoperable due to roof and structural damage.

Peter Clark, city civil design engineer, said the new building will serve the city’s maintenance needs more efficiently.

“The new location will be a lot more centrally located,” Clark said, making it closer to the bulk of the city’s street maintenance work.

The contract went to the team of Schultz Construction, Ebert Mayo Design Group and Olsson Associates, which also handled “phase 1.” Phase 2 will carry out the final design and actual construction.

The price of the project thus far is estimated to be about $683,000. Phase 1 services were $50,000 and the phase 2 contract price is $575,000. The city assumed additional expenses of about $58,000 to get to the final figure. Clark said the project will be funded through the city’s capital improvements reserve fund.

Commissioners approved an add-on for a switch and design for a future generator. Clark and Rob Ott, city engineer, said it was identified as a desirable upgrade once phase 1 started. Clark said otherwise it would have been included from the beginning. He said it will keep the essential functions of facility running during a power outage.

“I think we ought to keep the switch in,” Commissioner Rich Jankovich said.

There were other possible add-ons, but Clark described them as “wants.” He said they aren’t essential to function of the facility.

Commissioner Wynn Butler questioned why the project wasn’t put out for bid. Ron Fehr, city manager, said the facility is a simple building that wouldn’t need extensive architectural engineering. Fehr said a design-build approach seemed beneficial.

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