The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Dena Martin
The Times 

Taggart Road Project gets a 'go' in 3-2 vote

Nelson & Moreno is prepared to begin construction in February

 

January 24, 2019



Nelson & Moreno is prepared to begin construction in February

WAITSBURG – After spending more than an hour weighing the pros and cons, the Waitsburg City Council approved Resolution 2019-692, awarding the Taggart Road Extension Project to Moreno & Nelson Construction, at their Jan. 16 council meeting.

The approval, which is contingent upon a release for construction package being completed and available for review at the February council meeting, passed with a 3-2 vote. Council members KC Kuykendall, Kevin House and Jim Romine voted in favor of the project with Terry Jacoy and Kate Hockersmith voting opposed.

The project will straighten Taggart Road, which now has two 90-degree corners between Millrace Road and Highway 12. It will also move the Highway 12 intersection from its current exit next to Sam’s Corner convenience store, which is located just after a curve in the highway and where large trees block the view of oncoming traffic, thereby eliminating those safety issues.

It is also expected that the straightening project will aid in further development. The City’s water model is based on the expectation that residential development will eventually occur in the area, where land has been annexed and two subdivisions have previously been proposed. Plans include a looping water system that will run alongside the new road extension and which will greatly improve water pressure to the east end of the City.

The road straightening project has been listed on the City’s 6-year Transportation Plan at least 10 years, according to City Manager Randy Hinchliffe. The City has procured an easement and the project is factored into the 2019 budget. Still, the council voiced several concerns.

Council member Jacoy said he understood the water need but felt that putting in a road that would currently serve two residences should be left to the eventual developer to fund rather than the City.

Hinchliffe said that the City has gone through the process to get an easement for the extension and that the infrastructure will help incentivize development.

Council member KC Kuykendall agreed with the need for the project but repeatedly questioned the wisdom in not laying the road and the water/sewer line at the same time to save money. He also suggested waiting to see if Public Works Trust Fund (PWTF) dollars would become available.

Hichliffe responded that PWTF dollars would come with additional requirements such as SEPA and Historical Preservation Act reviews that would add significantly to the cost and would not be required in a self-funded project.

He also said that a water/sewer line system is currently being designed by Anderson-Perry but the cost of that project will be significantly higher than the $110,000 road project that is currently budgeted for. He also said the road would not interfere with water/sewer line installation in the future.

Hinchliffe said the Moreno & Nelson estimate is about one-third the cost of a previous Transportation Improvement Board estimate, lays groundwork for future development and will help the City continue to address issues of water pressure in the eastern end of town.

The project is factored into the 2019 budget and will be paid for through a combination of property taxes, Hinchliffe said.

Taggart Road residents Louie and Marie Gagnon were in attendance and expressed concern about the new road creating a dam in what is a flood plain and said a culvert is needed for the water to get back to the river. While they didn’t express outright opposition to the project, they did say that the extension would leave them with roads on three sides of their property and an easement for a potential road on the fourth side.

“We all voted to approve the 6-year Capital Improvement Plan this fall and we all voted to approve the budget last month,” said Kuykendall who added that he was still leery to award the contract without a plan in the event that the project ran into unforeseen expenses.

In the end, Kuykendall motioned to approve the contract award with the contingency that a release for construction package is available for review by the February council meeting. The motioned passed 3-2 with Kuykendall, House and Romine in favor and Jacoy and Hockersmith opposed.

Hinchliffe said that, dependent on the weather, Nelson & Moreno is prepared to begin work in February.

 

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