By Becky Kiser
Hays Vice Mayor Sandy Jacobs applauded after city commissioners Thursday night unanimously approved agreements with the U.S. and Kansas Departments of Transportation, the next step in construction of the North Vine Street Corridor Project.
"I saw a group of high school kids that their bus was on the west side of Vine Street and they were trying to get over to the east side of Vine Street," Jacobs said after the vote.
"The traffic was so thick. Those kids were going in through there and I thought, oh my gosh, we're almost there. So this is a good night."
Project Manager John Braun first reviewed the project history, starting in December 2015 with the closing of the Ambassador Hotel.
A design agreement with WSP engineers was finalized in May 2018 and in December 2018, the city received a $6 million federal BUILD grant for the reconstruction of Vine Street between 32nd and 41st Streets including four traffic roundabouts.
A bid letting by KDOT for the $9.3 million project is scheduled for March 25. Construction will begin by July 31 and must be completed by May 15, 2022.
Thursday's action gave authorization to City Manager Toby Dougherty to enter the three-party agreement setting forth terms and provisions of the project. The city's cost share is $3.3 million.
Vine Street is also a federal highway, U.S. 183. KDOT will act as the pass-through agency, meaning the project will be let and managed by KDOT.
The commission also unanimously approved an ordinance to create a TIF district request by developers D & J Land for a full-service travel plaza at Interstate 70 Exit 157.
There was no comment during the public hearing for the Tax Increment District.
The $41 million project will sit at the crossroads of Interstate 70 and the planned Northwest Business Corridor, a traffic bypass around west Hays to be used by semi-trucks and superloads.
Improvements are also planned for a portion of South Vine Street.
The engineering design firm was approved for a smaller reconstruction project on South Vine where work will begin in the 2022 construction season after the larger North Vine project is done.
The city has received a $1 million KDOT City Connecting Link Improvement Program Grant for reconstruction of Vine from the south city limit to the McDonald's restaurant.
Kaw Valley Engineers, Junction City, was awarded the low design bid of $86,745. Final plans are due May 21, 2021.
The $4 million dollar project includes replacement of the concrete pavement, select areas of curb and gutter, sidewalk ramps, pedestrian signals at 8th Street, storm sewer inlet tops, and pavement markings.