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Thu, June 27

Repaving of Mt. Vernon/Senator Highway to begin in 2 weeks

PRESCOTT - For the 5,000 to 6,000 drivers who use Mount Vernon Avenue and Senator Highway each day, the approaching summer will come with some complications.

In a 6-0 vote Tuesday, the Prescott City Council approved a $5.7 million contract with Fann Contracting for the reconstruction of more than a mile of the two southeast-Prescott streets, beginning at the Gurley Street/Mount Vernon intersection and continuing to the Nathan Lane/Senator Highway intersection.

In explaining the project to the council, Engineering Services Director Mark Nietupski noted that the schedule would be "compressed," in order to be complete before the colder fall weather. The contract allows for 160 days - running from late May to late October.

Mike Fann of Fann Contracting said the compressed schedule would require that multiple crews work on the project, although he said the plans include no night work.

"There is a tremendous amount of work to be done a short time frame," Fann said Wednesday.

To meet the tight schedule, work likely will take place for more than 40 hours per week, Fann said.

On the Mount Vernon section, Fann said the project would come with parallel detour routes to allow drivers to divert around the construction. But on Senator Highway, he said flaggers likely would be on site to help traffic move through the area.

Nietupski told the council that traffic control for the project would be "flexible to allow the contractor efficiency."

The project, which involves about 6,100 feet of roadway, will include repavement of Mount Vernon within the limits of the existing curb and gutter. On Senator, the contract involves widening the roadway to 28 feet, with new curb and gutter along both sides, and sidewalk along one side.

In addition, the project includes the replacement of old water and sewer lines.

To preserve the historic features of South Mount Vernon, the city also will upgrade the underground electrical lines to the old streetlights, which will remain.

Fann's low bid of $5,770,000 came in about $1.5 million less than the city engineer's estimate of $7.3 million - a factor that caused concern for Councilman Jim Lamerson.

Noting that the high bid from FNF Construction of Tempe ($7,118,747) came in closer to the engineer's estimate, Lamerson asked what assurance the city had that Fann's work would not come with change orders that would cause the cost of the project to rise.

Nietupski noted that Fann Contracting had confirmed its bid amount, and that the project was bid on a "unit-cost" basis, which means that each contractor submitted a unit price to do a defined quantity of work. While a change in quantity during the course of the project could cause the price to go up, Nietupski noted that all of the contractors bid on the same quantity of work.

According to a 2011 traffic count, about 5,700 vehicles a day use Mount Vernon Avenue south of Gurley Street, and about 6,200 use Senator Highway south of Haisley Homestead.

Fann said he expects construction to begin in about two weeks.

Noting that the project has long been on the city's list of priorities, Mayor Marlin Kuykendall said, "I know there's a lot of folks who will be happy to see this start, and come to an end. It's been a long wait."

Councilman Charlie Arnold declared a conflict of interest on the matter and did not participate in the discussion or the vote.

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