The Village of Ephraim approved a contract with engineering firm AECOM for $306,949 to complete design work on the projects associated with the village’s upcoming highway resurface plan. Construction design, estimated at $175,000 to $225,000, and actual construction costs, are not included in the contract.
Projects include reconstruction of a half-mile portion of the highway with sidewalk, curb and gutter, stormwater drainage throughout much of the village, replacement of 61 sanitary manholes along the highway, a new street lighting system, reconstruction of the Highway 42 and Moravia Street intersection and the basic resurfacing of both lanes in the highway.
Ken Nelson, chair of the subcommittee that created the contract, said completion of the design work will allow the village to accomplish some of the projects as funding becomes available.
Village board member Paul Roppuld expressed concern with the bundling of all projects into a single contract.
“The concern that I have is simply that bundling as a contract medium carries by far the most risk for the taxpayers,” Roppuld said, citing his career experience in government contracts. “I normally in my professional life would do everything in my power to bust something like this up into its individual components.”
Nick Becker of AECOM said separating each of the projects may increase administrative costs, while Nelson believed separating the projects could actually increase risk.
“I think we could end up with more risk by unbundling because now we have these related items in separate agreements,” Nelson said.
Roppuld abstained from the vote to award the contract while it was unanimously approved by the other four board members.
As the village prepares for the upcoming expenses, it will get a boost from the required property acquisition the Department of Transportation (DOT) needs to correct the centerline of the road.
“[Highway] 42 as it sits today is not centered in a right of way,” said Village Administrator Brent Bristol. “One of the things that’s happening regardless of the village reconstruct project is this right of way correction project.”
There are seven slivers of property the DOT will acquire, most covering an area of less than one-tenth of an acre. But given the prime location of the properties, including the village hall and other waterfront properties, the village accepted payment totalling $211,150. The DOT will also coordinate with private property owners on land acquisition, but the thin slices of land needed should not include any land that is not already paved as part of the highway.
The village plans on completing some of the stormwater work and manhole replacement before the DOT highway resurfacing in spring 2019. The reconstructed portion of the highway between the village beach and old fire station, including a sidewalk, will be completed in spring or fall of 2019.
Other aspects of the plan, including street lighting and the Moravia intersection may be completed as the village decides on how to fund them, but design work will be completed under the approved contract with AECOM.