Changes likely for Ash Street project

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Hillsboro City Administrator Larry Paine received informal direction from the city council during a work session last Tuesday to begin planning for a major change in the Ash Street renovation project.

The primary purpose of the work session was talk about the 2011 budget. But Paine started the meeting with a request for feedback about the street project.

Paine reported that a federal project inspector had been on site and expressed his dissatisfaction with the project design. Specifically, he said it was not wise to replace the old concrete in some portions of the old concrete street between First and Third streets, and cover the remaining sections with a 3-inch asphalt overlay, according to Paine.

The inspector said the area with the overlay likely would not last seven years before the old concrete sections beneath it would shift and ruin the driving surface.

Paine said the inspector recommended the city remove all the old concrete and replace it either with 8 inches of new concrete with an additional cost of $125,000, or 10 inches of full-depth asphalt for an additional cost of $107,000.

Paine said the project was at a standstill until that decision is made. Because the council was meeting in a work session, it could not make a binding decision, by state statute. Instead, Paine asked members to give him ?some direction? on the matter.

Paine said the city did not have an additional $125,000 or $107,000 in its current operating budget to pay for the new plan. But the city could designate adequate funding through a bond project for streets scheduled to be paid off this year.

The council voiced consensus that while replacing all of the old concrete with new concrete would be the more expensive option, it would result in a much longer lasting street.

Paine agreed with their assessment and said ?the community wants to see a street project well done.?

Councilor Bob Watson asked how the original ?patch plan? had been developed in the first place.

Paine said the city had developed the plan several years ago when it appeared the city would have to pay for the entire project. Even with its more inexpensive approach, Paine said the council decided it could not afford to proceed with the project at that time.

When the Obama administration launched the American Recovery and Restoration Act in early 2009, the city submitted its existing plan as a ?shovel-ready? project, as the administration had requested.

Hearing the council?s encouragement, Paine said he would begin preliminary work to take the project in the new direction.

The Ash Street project was listed on the council?s agenda for its regular July 9 meeting. The revised plan likely will be formally approved at that meeting.

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