COOLIDGE — Next in line to receive road improvements as part of the city’s five-year plan are stretches in the west end along Ninth Street, Coolidge Avenue and Vah Ki Inn Road.
That was the road map the City Council was given Monday night during a presentation-only format by Public Works Director Matt Rencher, who detailed an overview of future and past street projects that so far has covered 16.12 miles and cost more than $1.2 million.
The first project will cover the north-to-south stretch of Ninth Street from Northern to Wilson Avenue, and the other two will be east-to-west routes on Coolidge Avenue from 19th Street to Skousen Road and on Vah Ki Inn road from Ninth Street to Skousen.
“Northern, of course, will be reconstructed with the bond election and the pool as part of the aquatic center improvements,” Rencher said. “Wilson Place, Coolidge Place and Harding Avenue were done many years ago with the double chip seal. One of the additional costs that we had in the project that we just completed here we had the concrete sidewalk ramps so we had to go in and pay an additional $200,000 to have them brought up to ADA specifications. The benefit we have of next year’s project is we don’t have sidewalks in this area because these lots are all flood irrigated and as part of that flood irrigation the properties have berms that are adjacent to the curb to keep the irrigation water from running out into the street. So that’s a cost that will not be incurred for this project that we intend to be undertaking in February or March.”
The work on Coolidge Avenue and Vah Ki Inn Road will expand portions for two-lane traffic each way and install curbs, gutters and sidewalks. The Coolidge Avenue design is scheduled to begin in 2022 and construction in 2024. For Vah Ki Inn Road, that work is slated for 2023 and 2025, Rencher said.
Massive projects in recent years have upgraded sections east of Arizona Boulevard, particularly the Main Street and Central Avenue intersection, with most of the costs handled through grant money, prompting commendations from Councilman Steve Hudson and Mayor Jon Thompson for Rencher and his nine-man Public Works crew.
“You guys have done a fantastic job,” Hudson said, “but it never ends. Once you get done with one road — you think you’re going to be done — you got to start with the road you started with the very first time. It’s an ongoing project, but the city looks great and I thank the businesses that have had hardships — Main Street, Coolidge Avenue, Central and the citizens of Coolidge also.”
One road improvement item that was up for a council vote, and approved 5-0 with two members absent, was installing rumble strips on Skousen leading to Eleven Mile Corner Road. In addition, Rencher said, a request will come before the council to install LED, solar-flashing stop sign lights at two locations on Coolidge Avenue at Valley Farms Road and Ninth Street. These beacons will be similar to what’s used currently at the crossing of State Routes 87 and 287, he said.
“Also we have in the next fiscal year coming up the intention of redoing Fifth Street from Martin down to Bartlett Road. That’s right in front of The Tire Factory. That’s a joint venture with the county. We have price quotes already from contractors and so when we get those agreements ready we will bring those to you for official approval,” Rencher said.
“We’re very fortunate to be in a position where we are now with the Sun Corridor funding we get through the federal Highways Administration. We have all the funding for the next four years through Sun Corridor (Metropolitan Planning Organization for) the design and construction projects on Coolidge Avenue and Vah Ki Inn. With those projects, over the last five or six years Coolidge has gotten 70% of the funding from Sun Corridor from the grants that we’ve been able to pursue and successfully apply for. We’ve been very, very successful in getting federal grants to fund our improvements.”
Thompson did ask Rencher about the status of turning lanes being installed at Skousen and State Route 87, a high-risk crossing that has been the scene of several vehicle collisions over the years, and has been discussed before at Sun Corridor meetings. Rencher replied that issue has been submitted as a project and is being reviewed.