Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
The city and county of Washington agreed to two agreements at their respective regular meetings last week, setting the course for road improvements on West 18th Street, West Fifth Street and Lexington Boulevard.
County Engineer Jacob Thorius said one of the agreements, regarding West 18th Street, needed reauthorization after a wording change at the city’s request.
“We approved this last week, I sent it to the city, they reviewed it one more time, they had some questions and wanted to clarify,” Thorius said at the Sept. 7 Board of Supervisors meeting. “They didn’t think it was clear, that’s fine with me, it’s clear now. So I’d ask that you approve this modified agreement.”
The change reworded one item of the West 18th Street agreement. Both plans have wording that gives the city “the ability to review and provide comments of the proposed project plans,” before they are carried out.
“Between both projects, the agreement really spells out that the two of us are working together,” Thorius said. “The county will do all the project design and administration of the contract, and then the city will pay for their portion of the work.”
City staff said the arrangement, a 28E intergovernmental agreement under state code, was divided into two parts, putting the 18th Street improvements on a different timeline from the other roads.
“Thorius advises that doing this (West 18th Street) project separately this fall is likely to result in significant savings and was initially estimated at approximately $170,000 total,” a memo to the Washington City Council said.
Thorius was right. By moving the project up to this year, he said the estimated cost dropped to just $82,000, prompted by a competitive bid from a contractor looking for work.
“We said, ‘Well, it’s about a mile, what are you thinking for a number?’ He shot us a number that seemed reasonable and a little below our original estimate, and we thought that was good,” Thorius said. “I’m not sure how much money he’s making on the job, but he’s making enough to make it worth while to do the job and also end up with good cost savings for the county and the city.”
Thorius said contractors would carry out a pavement grinding project on West 18th Street, a one- to two-week process he said would make the ride smoother and the pavement more durable. The city will pay for 23.6% of that work, the proportion of the road that falls within city limits.
The other project, on Lexington Boulevard and West Fifth Street, had a higher price tag of roughly $850,000 according to Thorius.
“The combination project is a pavement overlay, that pavement has reached the end of its life,” he said. “We paved that in 1973, it’s nearly 50 years old, so it’s served its useful life, parts are deteriorating … Former City Administrator Brent Hinson and I had been talking for a few years on options for that, and we decided on a concrete overlay.”
The combination project puts a higher demand on the city than the West 18th Street work. With 82.6% of the overlay falling within city limits, it will pay for that portion of the work, according to the agreement, although a memo to the council said more than $849,000 in federal block grant funds were available for the project.