Sidewalk project in MW hits some curbs

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By Alex Wimsatt

    MOUNT WASHINGTON - While Mount Washington officials were hoping to move forward with a downtown sidewalks project after receiving additional funding in September, construction has been put on hold yet again
    It was with disappointment that Mount Washington Mayor Joetta Calhoun shared that the construction bid recently submitted by local contractor United Construction & Design nearly doubled what the city has set aside for the project.
    Since 2009 the city has acquired more than $270,000 in grants to replace the broken sidewalks along Old Bardstown Road in downtown Mount Washington.
    It was in 2009 the city first designated a $198,000 grant for the Main Street sidewalks project.
    “I suspect it will be well over what we need,” Calhoun was quoted in a story published in The Pioneer News shortly after the city was awarded the grant.
    City officials’ optimism has since turned to frustration as the project has hit more than a few snags over the years.
    The city chose Old Bardstown Road for the project site as curbing was being installed along the street to improve storm water drainage.
    It wasn’t until last year that the the Mount Washington City Council approved a resolution to accept the $198,000 grant after the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet shaved $19,800 off the top for costs related to design, project oversight and management activities. 
    Following months of red tape, the project was put out for bid earlier this year.
    The city received not one bid.     
    Weeks later, the mayor spoke with representatives of the Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency about acquiring additional funding for the project.
    With an additional $96,000 city officials hoped the $270,000 would be enough to cover to project so they again advertised for bids only a few weeks ago.
    United Construction & Design’s nearly $500,000 bid was the only one the city received.
    Rather than put the project out for bid a third time, Calhoun said United Construction and Design would meet with the project engineer to discuss how to reduce the cost of the project.
    “I was told there are a number of alternatives to cut cost,” Calhoun said.
    Originally the sidewalks were to be constructed of concrete and brick set in a herringbone pattern.
    Calhoun said simply changing the pattern of the bricks could save thousands of dollars.
    City officials would like to see construction underway as soon as possible, but considering the obstacles the three-year-old project has encountered, Calhoun said it would be difficult to determine when the project could move past the design phase.