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City targets April for Vine Street construction


The final phase of Hays' Vine Street reconstruction will start in April, following city commissioners' award Thursday night of a $1 million bid for the project to Pavers Inc. of Salina.

The project, which will remove and replace the pavement from 13th Street to 22nd Street will be nearly identical to the 2011 reconstruction of Vine Street from 22nd Street to 27th Street, and will be funded through a Kansas Department of Transportation grant and the city's capital projects fund.

The city's share of the project is $707,630.

"Pavers would like to start as soon as possible," assistant public works director John Braun told commissioners. "We anticipate construction to start in mid- to early April and go through the month of July."

Traffic will be shifted during the construction process to one lane each direction. In the final phase, Braun said, the middle lanes will be closed and one lane northbound and one southbound will handle traffic flow.

With the exception of intersections, left turns into businesses in the construction area won't be permitted.

"Within the construction zone, we can't have somebody stopping to make a left turn to turn into a particular business and holding up a half a mile of traffic behind them, especially during peak times," Braun said. "(Traffic) will move through, but it will move slower."

Another Vine Street construction agenda item, an agreement with Driggs Design Group for inspection and testing services related to the Vine Street project also was approved by commissioners.

A public information meeting regarding the project will be at 5:30 p.m. March 26 at the Kansas Department of Transportation building, 1811 Frontier Rd.

In other business, commissioners:

* Tabled action on a $193,101 bid from Berkshire-Hathaway for workers' compensation insurance pending receiving information about the possibility of rejoining the Kansas League of Municipalities. At a cost of $164,000, membership in the league would allow the city to pursue workers' compensation insurance through the Kansas Municipalities Insurance Trust.

* Voted 3-0 to reject city staff's recommendation to raise Fort Hays Municipal Golf Course Tournament fees to pay for tournament marshals. Commissioner Henry Schwaller IV made the motion to reject the fee increase based on his assertion the increases should be considered only during the commission's budgetary process.

* Approved a resolution to abate a vehicle at 700 Vine.

* Tabled discussion on newly seeded lawn permits.

Commissioner Ron Mellick and Vice Mayor Kent Steward were absent.