TO: Mayor Hornaday / Homer City Council
FROM: Walt Wrede
DATE: August 7, 2012
SUBJECT: Main Street and Sterling Highway Intersection
At the last Council meeting, during the Manager’s Report, I informed you that ADOT/PF was proposing to apply for HSIP Funds to construct traffic control improvements at the intersections of Main Street and the Sterling Highway and Main Street and Pioneer Ave. HSIP funds are available for improvements at dangerous intersections. There was discussion about how long it was taking to obtain improvements at this intersection and what the available options might be to get this done.
One available option to get improvements constructed quickly was for the City to assume responsibility for design and construction. It was agreed that I should bring a resolution forward that expressed support for this approach in order to get the issue on the table and generate further discussion and action. The Council also asked for more information about DOT/PF’s intent, the scope of the project they were proposing, and how much money the City would be leaving on the table if it simply went ahead and did this work itself in order to save time.
This agenda contains a resolution authorizing the City Manager to negotiate a Transfer of Responsibility Agreement with ADOT/PF that makes the City the responsible party for engineering and construction. Since the last meeting, ADOT/PF, based upon the City’s comments, has revised its application for HSIP funds and upgraded the budget ($2.8 Million) and the scope of work (all desirable intersection enhancements including turning lanes on Main Street). DOT/PF says this work can be accomplished in three years or less. I think this development changes the landscape significantly.
If the City chooses to move ahead and build the improvements itself in the next year, it will potentially be leaving a significant amount of money on the table, not to mention an improvement that will be better than what the City can afford on its own (the legislative grant). This is after all, the intersection of two State roads and improvements here are ultimately a State responsibility. This of course, must be weighed against the public safety risks associated with waiting another 2 or 3 years.
In our view (Carey and I) , the best option for the City may be to allow the State to go ahead with its proposal and for the City to pledge its $2 Million toward the project and related improvements to Main Street. This would accomplish several things. First, it would insure that the City received good improvements there, not temporary or half baked ones. Second, the local match would help this project score much higher and increase the likelihood of funding. Third, a higher priority, well funded project is more likely to be constructed quickly.
Other alternatives for discussion include 1) let DOT/PF move ahead as planned and use the legislative grant entirely for improvements on Main Street itself 2) seek a Legislative re-appropriation of the grant money and use it for City owned streets that are a high priority like the proposed new East-West Corridor from Lake to Bartlett, and 3) adopt this resolution and construct a traffic signal as quickly as possible.
RECOMMENDATION: Vote this resolution down, pledge the legislative grant toward the project and associated improvements to Main St. itself, and send a message to ADOT/PF that says the City is willing to pledge the funds provided that it gets reasonable assurance that the intersection improvements can be completed within 2 years. If not, request interim improvements like a blinking light / four- way stop.