Ignacio's downtown stoplight project is moving ahead quickly.
Town Manager Lee San Miguel reported to the town board Tuesday night that he met recently with the two Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) engineers in charge of designing the project.
He said the good news is, "They reassured us that when they install the light, parking will remain as it is." That's been a major concern for businesses near the Highway 172/151 intersection.
In addition, CDOT will pay to re-do Ute Street from the main intersection west to the alley as one-way with diagonal parking on both sides and "bulb-outs" at the corners.
"I was pleased to hear they will do that construction. I thought the town would have to do it," San Miguel said. He mentioned $140,000 as a very rough estimate. The town will be responsible for aesthetic improvements there, he said.
The new parking configuration there will provide 12 spaces, four more than now, he said. The town will be able to close that section of street for special events.
Left and right turn lanes at the main intersection will be on hold for several years, San Miguel said. Those are what would eliminate parking spaces.
"I said we would look for alternative ways to address parking," he said. "They want to move forward with the project, probably fairly quickly. I asked for more community meetings so there won't be any miscommunications. Business owners are happy there won't be left turn lanes."
Kasey Correia, business owner and chair of the downtown improvements steering committee, thanked San Miguel "for conveying the need to keep those parking spaces. ... We would have lost eight overall. I talked to the property owners and businesses. They weren't notified."
She also appreciated that CDOT will pay for the work on Ute Street.
"We had a figure of $165,000 for the work on Ute Street. That stalled the whole thing out," she said.
San Miguel said, "We are hoping to get a request for proposals out in May," a year sooner than previously thought. He had no estimate of when construction might start or how long it will last.
The project was approved for a CDOT RAMP grant, a statewide pot of money to speed up road projects. San Miguel said the total cost for the downtown project might be around $1.8 million. The town share of that will be $10,000.
That got to another agenda item, whether to waive any overweight vehicle fees for construction at Ignacio High School. Last month trustees agreed to waive the $18,595 fee, contingent on the project general contractor FCI agreeing to fix any construction road damage.
FCI didn't agree to that. At Tuesday's meeting, School Superintendent Rocco Fuschetto told trustees, "FCI says it's too much liability because they aren't the only ones using the roads, especially with the reconstruction of CR 320."
San Miguel noted that when the town set the overweight fee for construction of the new middle school, "We changed the way we were doing it from $600 per truck (trip) to a 1/10 percent (of project cost) one-time fee."
The base bid on the high school project is $18,595,000. That puts the fee at $18,595.
Town Treasurer Lisa Rea noted that $10,000 of that was designated for the town share of the stoplight project. The rest of it would go to street maintenance work.
Fuschetto continued, "We knew this (fee for the high school project) was coming. We budgeted some money for the high school, but not $18,000. We are willing to pay something."
After more discussion, trustees voted 4-3 to put the fee at $10,000 and waive the $8,595.