16th Avenue resurfacing could get go-ahead on Tuesday

Published: Friday, November 8, 2013 at 6:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 8, 2013 at 6:55 p.m.

Drivers dreaming of a smoother ride along the Northwest 16th Avenue corridor in Gainesville may be nearing the end of their years-long wait for major improvements.

The Alachua County Commission will consider whether to approve the bid ranking and construction contract for the long-planned resurfacing project at its Tuesday meeting.

The county will award the project to Anderson Columbia Co. of Lake City for $7.5 million if the board gives its approval, and the company could then move forward with construction plans.

The project entails various improvements to the four-mile swath of road between Northwest 57th Terrace and Northwest 13th Street. The road is known as Northwest 16th Avenue, Northwest 16th Boulevard and Northwest 23rd Avenue at different points along that path.

The county started design work for the project in February 2009, said Brian Singleton, the county's transportation engineering manager. Improvements include resurfacing all four miles and restructuring two sections that have pockets of bad clay beneath the pavement. The road has moved too much in those spots and has been damaged beyond repair, necessitating reconstruction, he said.

"We're removing the clay to a certain depth, so it shouldn't happen again," he said.

During construction, workers will also replace a couple of retaining walls and add a shared bicycle-vehicle lane along Northwest 16th Avenue and Northwest 16th Boulevard. Northwest 23rd Avenue already has stand-alone bicycle lanes.

The sidewalks also will be widened along the four-mile stretch to give bicyclists the option of using the sidewalks.

Part of the project's $7.5 million price tag will come from the county's gas-tax money, while impact fees will be used for certain capacity-related work, he said. Gainesville Regional Utilities will pay for a portion of the project as well because water lines need to be relocated to help with replacing the retaining walls.

County staff get complaints from residents about this roadway, but Singleton said that isn't unusual.

"We hear about this one quite a bit because, you know, it's been talked about for the past few years, but we get complaints pretty much from the entire network," he said.

If the commission signs off on the project on Tuesday, the county will issue Anderson Columbia Co. a notice-to-proceed at a Nov. 18 preconstruction conference so it can begin work. The company will present its timeline for the project at that meeting as well.

Once construction begins or 30 days have elapsed since the conference — whichever comes first — the contractor has 330 days to complete the project, although it may take longer due to construction delays or bad weather.

If it doesn't meet that deadline, the company must pay the county a certain amount of money per day in liquidated damages for as long as it takes to complete the work, he said.

The county already repaired potholes along the Northwest 16th Avenue corridor earlier this year as an interim measure until this project could get underway. County staff had been planning to fill in the potholes when Commissioner Susan Baird brought up the idea in February.

She saw it as a "Band-Aid" that could improve conditions for drivers while they waited for the bigger improvements to be made.

Contact Morgan Watkins at 338-3104 or morgan.watkins@gainesville.com.

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