Next step on Hwy 61 project on agenda


FORT MADISON – With the city getting ready to rebid the reconstruction of Bus. 61 from 2nd to 6th streets, officials will vote this week to enter into an agreement for professional services for the next segment.

At Tuesday’s regular city council meeting, councilmen could vote on an agenda item to enter into a professional services agreement with HR Green out of Cedar Rapids for about $452,000 to handle the administration for reconstruction of the highway from 6th to 10th Streets.

Green came under fire this fall for estimates that were substantially under bids on the first phase of the project, as well as for work on the platform to move the Amtrak depot to Riverview Park.

Green’s services will include design of the project, a mandatory cultural resource study, public involvmenet, coordination with other utilities, geotechnical design, bidding, permitting, and construction administration.

According to a report from City Manager David Varley, the project will be bid through the Iowa Department of Transportation in December 2020. Most of the project is expected to be done in November 2021 with final completion in May 2022.

The rebidding of the first phase of the business route could set that work to take most of the summer and fall of 2020. The work is part of a replacement of the entire stretch of highway through town.

The state turned over jurisdiction of the corridor to the city in exchange for $13.9 million dollars when the bypass was constructed. Plans included redoing several intersections including the 27th Street and Avenue L intersection, which was completed in 2018. Plans also included redoing the intersection at Avenue O and Ortho Road.

Earlier this year Jones Contracting of West Point redid the “S” curve on Avenue L in the 3500 and 3600 blocks at a cost of a just over half a million dollars.

Original plans called for four segments starting on the west side of the city and working east. However, plans changed and the city decided to go from the east and tackle 2nd Street to 6th Street, moving progressively west. The city had originally planned to have the entire corridor rehabbed by 2027.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda, the council will consider:
• refinancing about $10 million in water revenue bonds at a lower 1.75% interest rate.

• vacating a portion of property in the 3500 block of Avenue L.

• appointing Ron Knoke to the city’s Airport Commission to fill an unexpired term through Sept. 30, 2021.

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