???? Anticipating increased school traffic, East 13th Street to be widened in Hays
By BECKY KISER
Traffic will greatly increase on East 13th Street when the new Hays High School is built just east of the current building and the existing facility is reconstructed as Hays Middle School.
City commissioners unanimously approved three agenda items during their meeting last week to improve that traffic flow.
The Hays USD 489 property where the new high school will be built, 2500 East 13th, was annexed into the city and rezoned from agriculture district to public institutional district.
A $120,000 design contract with MKEC Engineering of Overland Park – which is already working with the school district on the high school project – was approved for reconstructing and widening 13th Street between Anthony Drive and Commerce Parkway. The 3,5oo ft. segment is currently maintained by Ellis County and is an arterial road, carrying about 3,500 vehicles per day.
The street will be widened to 36 ft. when completed, according to Jesse Rohr, public works director.
“The street itself is currently two lanes wide, asphalt, with no shoulders,” Rohr said.
“When we’re done we intend on having a three-lane asphalt street there with three-foot shoulders. We will also extend the pedestrian and multi-use path along the north side of the street. It will extend the full length of the project and be eight-foot wide going out to Commerce Parkway.”
Rohr expects design to begin this spring with bid letting by the end of the year. Construction would start in the spring of 2024 and be completed by the end of next year.
Although concrete is now being used to build most city streets, Rohr said the existing asphalt road is in good shape and so it will remain asphalt.
Total estimated cost of the project is $2.5 million.
The city received a Kansas Department of Transportation cost share grant to cover $1.2 million of the cost. The city’s share of $750,000 is included in the capital improvement plan in the 2023 budget. Ellis County has budgeted $500,000 in participating funds.
Commissioner Sandy Jacobs commended the financial partnership between the city and county for the reconstruction project.
“It’s going to be very necessary with the new school and the middle school moving out there,” Jacobs said. “I just appreciate the commitment from the county.”
“Not only for the school district, it’s time [to widen the street] for the city, for the county, for all the people living out there, and new housing,” Commissioner Shaun Musil added.
Once completed, the city will take ownership of the road section and be responsible for its maintenance.
Ron Wilson, USD 489 Superintendent, was in the audience and told commissioners the district improvements financed by the new bond issue are “on pace.”
In other business, commissioners approved a $3.2 million bid from RDH Electric & Construction, Hays, for construction of a new building at the south end of the hanger area to house the airport’s snow removal equipment. The current building was constructed in 1996 when Hays Regional Airport had just two pieces of snow removal equipment. There are now seven pieces in the fleet. The bid was below the engineer’s estimate.
The building project and the associated construction engineering contract with Burns & McDonnell for $385,000 are both eligible for a 90/10 match with the Federal Aviation Administration.
Total project cost is $3.95 million dollars with the city’s share being $456,000.
Once the FAA grants are awarded, construction could begin as early as this summer.
In other business, commissioners approved the low bid of $321,000 from Mayer Specialty Services, Goddard, for lining 10,000 linear feet of 8-inch sanitary sewer line. Cleaning and inspection of sewer lines has been performed by contractors annually since 2013.
A public hearing, which brought no comments, was held for special assessments of water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, and street improvements in the King’s Gate 2nd Addition Improvement District.
The 22 homeowners’ assessments will be $21,363 per lot.
At the start of the meeting, one agenda item, a nuisance abatement for 1700 Marshall Road, was removed by Mayor Mason Ruder with no comment.
Commissioner Reese Barrick was absent from the meeting.