WALK THE WALK
Interstate Engineering partnered with the City of Glendive to assist with their 8th and largest official city-wide sidewalk, curb, and gutter improvements project. Glendive last constructed improvements of this nature in 2007. The improvements were well received. With a proactive City Council and Public Works Department and interest from their constituents, the City of Glendive decided to move forward with another project in 2017 and 2018.
Under MCA 7-14-4109, a local government may order sidewalks, curbs, or gutters constructed in front of any lot or parcel of land to be constructed or replaced. Using Montana Code, the city can gauge interest from residents about voluntarily including their sidewalk, curb, and gutter, or both into a city-wide project. The City Council may also add properties strategically to others signing up. Then a resolution is prepared, and properties have 30 days to complete the work themselves or sign a waiver to have the city complete the work and assess the property. With this general concept in mind, the city compiles the properties and advertises as a total bid package to make up one larger project. Funds for the project are secured by the city through a private placement special improvement bond using a local bank at a secured interest rate. Residents have the option to pay their portion of the improvements in full at any time during the life of the loan if they choose. The life of the loan for this particular project was ten years.
In the fall of 2016, the City of Glendive sent out notices about the upcoming sidewalk and curb and gutter project. In May 2017, the city retained Interstate Engineering to move forward with design and bidding documents. The project was split into two schedules. Schedule I consisted of approximately one mile of new curb and gutter, 800 feet of replacement curb and gutter, and 0.25 miles of replacement sidewalk. Schedule II consisted of approximately three miles of replacement curb and gutter to be replaced, two miles of replacement sidewalk, small footages of new sidewalk and new curb, and 63 new ADA ramps. The city initiated Schedule I as the first step towards improving streets left incomplete in the late 1980s and 1990s. The project would also improve facilities around Lloyd Park. The City of Glendive, Dawson County, and the State of Montana owned the majority of street frontage along Schedule I. Schedule II consisted of voluntary sign-ups.
During the sign-up process, the city allowed residents to tentatively sign-up, meaning if lot owners did not like the prices from the contractor, they could back out after the project was bid. However, the buzz around the project was so impressive that “even if a few people backed out, the project would still be orders of magnitude greater than city officials had ever dreamed when they opened for sign-ups,” (Ranger Review, June 22, 2017).
The project was bid out in July 2017. Four bids were received with EHC, LLC out of Deaver, Wyoming, as the low bidder. Within their maximum statutory time frame allowed to hold bids, the city circled back to residents with a final construction number. The price presented was per lineal foot/square foot and based on a percentage of commitments which split up the fixed costs. The project was awarded in September 2017 in the amount of $961,402 for Schedules I and II. Schedule I remained largely the same while Schedule II was finalized at one mile of replaced curb and gutter, one mile of replaced sidewalk, small footages of new sidewalk, and 27 new ADA ramps.
Construction began in October 2017 and Schedule I was completed before winter shutdown. Schedule II resumed in May 2018 and completed within three months. Despite the reduction in sign-ups after the project was let and the sporadic nature of the project in general, the project was a success. Residents frequently called the Public Works Department and members of the City Council during the course of the project to try and achieve late sign-up status. The phone is still ringing at City Hall. Residents are eager to know when the city plans to complete another street and curb and gutter project. When asked if the City of Glendive would consider another project like this, Jack Rice, Glendive Director of Public Works, said, “Yes, but it was a time-consuming project. With the number of other city infrastructure projects, we are currently implementing, another curb and sidewalk project will be a year or two away.”
Addition: The City of Glendive, as a result of the new curb installation (Schedule I), was able to establish a Special Improvements District in the fall of 2018 to pave those streets that were never completed in the 1990s. Paving was completed in April 2019.
iNTERSTATE eNGINERING Team
Jordan Mayer, PE – Project Engineer
Jacqueline Miller – Drafter
Wendy Johnson – Administrative Assistant
Mike Venderdahl – Surveyor
Eric Meade – Surveyor