COVID-19, city street maintenance discussed at council meeting

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Poulsbo City Council, discussion topics ranged from the response to a possible COVID-19 outbreak, to the city’s plans to preserve pavement.

In her report at the top of the meeting, Mayor Becky Erickson gave an update and noted some things to consider as the city of Poulsbo braces for the potential spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The tactic has switched, as being addressed by public health, with the realization that the virus is going to come here, it’s going to spread and we have to take precautions to keep ourselves and our families safe,” Erickson said. “I’ve never, nor has any elected I know, declared a medical emergency and we wouldn’t do so cavalierly. I certainly won’t because of the nature of the financial and legal liabilities that are associated with it.”

“Don’t let people come to work sick, send them home. I do have the legal authority to send people home and I will.”

As the meeting turned to the business agenda, the council unanimously approved a consultant contract with Soundwest Engineering Associates to assist city staff in selecting streets for the 2020 Pavement Preservation project.

As the 2020 project moves forward, work will be focused on roads that are in poor condition and do not have known underground utility issues. The six developmental areas being recommended for this project include Poulsbo Gardens, Fjellvue, Noll Meadows, Finn Hill Terrace, Burns Alley and Forest Rock phases one and two.

Soundwest will also assist the city with preparation of bid documents, pre-bid activities and onsite construction observation. The project is expected to be completed by October and the total consultant budget is not expected to exceed $40,890.

The project will generally entail chip sealing or double chip sealing on selected streets. Street selection will be based on estimated construction costs within the established construction budget of $350,000 and an additive alternate budget of $175,000. This project will use the same process as the June 2017 Pavement Maintenance Demonstration Project.

“I’m hesitant to want to do this but I’m willing to be sold on the concept,” councilmember Ed Stern initially stated before eventually voting in favor of the contract. “This is close to 10 percent of the actual road construction repair budget. I’m wondering with the expertise that’s in house, without burdening them unduly, the selection process of which streets need doing, doesn’t seem like rocket science. I am not a construction engineer and I am happy to be proven incorrect, but I’m also reluctant to take $40,000.”

City staff will make the preliminary selections to include in the project, while Soundwest will conduct one field review of the selected streets and offer recommendations relative to feasibility, treatment type and approximate project extents. City staff will then conduct field observations of the final selected street sections and transfer a log of project extent and striping measurements or locations for inclusion in the bid documents.

Historically the City of Poulsbo has had limited funding for neighborhood street maintenance as most of the dollars went toward matching funds on grants for larger arterial roads, according to meeting materials. In 2015, Poulsbo City Council authorized $150,000 per year to be set aside in a “Neighborhood Streets Maintenance Program.”

A year later in 2016, the council authorized a Pavement Condition Survey project, the results of which helped prioritize the maintenance needs of Poulsbo’s road.

The 2017 Pavement Maintenance Demonstration Project focused on four separate roadways; Urdahl Road, 9th Avenue, Kevos Pond Drive and 12th Avenue. All four of these roads were chip sealed with a fog seal over the top. To date, the city states that all of these roads are holding up “very well.”

The street selection and public outreach process are expected to be completed in May, followed by the preparation of bid documents which are expected to be completed in June. Construction for the project is anticipated to be completed by October.

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