Tahlequah Daily Press

June 13, 2013

Street projects to begin soon

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — City leaders expect three local street-widening projects to start soon as agreements are finalized for capital-improvements projects.

Mayor Jason Nichols said no contracts have been formalized, but the engineering firm of Holloway, Updike & Bellen is expected to sign agreements for three street projects. Once that is complete, work will begin on East Fourth Street, from the west or “bottom” end of the bridge back to Muskogee, with an estimated cost of nearly $600,000; and on West Fourth Street, which was initially set to cost $1.6 million.

The expected cost for the West Fourth Street project, however, will be changing.

“West Fourth Street is going to be more expensive than we imagined because we have to go farther due to some drainage issues,” said Nichols. “We’ll have to go about 60 percent farther. That street will essentially become a street with a river underneath it, because it drains a 278-acre basin.”

Nichols said the projects on East and West Fourth Street will include adding a third lane, along with curb, gutter, sidewalk and drainage improvements.

“The good news is we will get rid of all of the open trenches on West Fourth Street,” said Nichols. “East Fourth Street is expected to come in significantly under budget.”

A project on North Cedar Avenue, from Crafton to Allen Road, could cost around $1.3 million for curb, gutter, sidewalk and drainage improvements.

The city’s new six-person oversight committee also met for its first meeting Tuesday night and elected Everett Childers as chairman and Susan Littlejohn as secretary. Nichols said the committee will meet at least once a month, and while the reporting so far has mainly focused on legal and technical information and project specifications, the committee will soon be seeing the financial reports roll in.

The committee is tasked with watching over the expenditures of the city’s latest capital-improvements project funded by an increase in sales tax collections.