South-side bike lane contract approved by council

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – Bicycle lanes will soon extend south on Highland Avenue (County E) and east on County PP as far as State 57.

The City Council Tuesday approved a contract with Northeast Asphalt to pave bike lanes on Highland from Larkspur Lane south to County PP, and on County PP from Highland Avenue to State 57, for $304,262.95

The project, Public Works Director William Immich explained, is part of the federally-funded Sheboygan County Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program.

“The idea is to get people out to the (County PP) industrial park,” Immich added. “Hopefully they will get it down this year yet, and if not, then next spring.”

Bids were received on the work from Northeast and Vinton Construction in late August, according to Immich, but both bids came in more than 20 percent over the engineer’s estimate.

The council had tabled awarding the contract at that point, to see if the project could be rebid to get a lower price. Immich said that, after reviewing the original engineer’s estimate, it was found that the price of asphalt was estimated at $180 a ton while the current price is around $450 a ton, which accounted for the higher bids.

“We’ve been working with the county Planning Department since we got the bids and they’re the ones who said to go ahead and award the contract. They are aware of the cost,” Immich told the council.

Immich said he has been in discussions with county officials to have the pavement on County E from Larkspur south to County PP pulverized and repaved by Northeast at the same time that the bike lanes are paved.

“A lot of these (NMTPP) projects were applied for five or six years ago and a lot of these roads have deteriorated in that time,” Immich pointed out.

The county would be able to pay for the repaving of County E, Immich indicated. All that is needed is approval from state officials, who oversee the NMTPP, to do the repaving along with the bicycle lanes.

Since the bike lanes are an NMTPP project, the city will pay Northeast for the work and then be reimbursed out of the federal grant funds.

The council voted to pay off the balance of a three-year loan taken out in 2012 to purchase new squad cars.

City Administrator Brian Yerges said paying off Bank First National a year-and-a-half early would save the city money on interest.

“It also helps in our tax levy collection,” for the 2013 by reducing the amount of debt service the city will have to budget for, Yerges added. The money to pay off the loan will come from the city’s contingency funds.

Plymouth Utilities was authorized to begin the hiring procedure for a new water operator.

Immich explained that one of the current water operators is planning to retire in November, and that the water foreman, who had been contemplating retirement next year, is now also considering retiring in November.

“However this plays out, we need to get your approval to get this thing moving,” Immich said.

Yerges added that if only one of the water department employees retires this fall, the new person would not be hired until the second retirement takes place.


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