Council agrees with some ADOT ideas on Rattlesnake

KINGMAN - The Kingman City Council gave its tentative approval to a handful of cost-cutting recommendations for the Rattlesnake Wash/Interstate 40 traffic interchange project Monday evening.

The list of nine recommendations was made by an independent "Value Analysis" team hired by the Arizona Department of Transportation. ADOT, which has committed to funding a portion of the project's cost, typically hires such teams to look for cost-cutting measures in any construction project estimated to cost more than $10 million - an amount Rattlesnake Wash is expected to exceed by roughly $26 million.

The full list of recommendations, if followed through, would save the city and ADOT approximately $4.18 million on the project's final cost. However, while the City Council was receptive to most of the suggestions, it flatly refused to go along with the two most significant cost-saving measures, arguing that they would ultimately undermine the purpose of the project, which is to draw truck traffic away from Andy Devine Avenue on its way to the Airport Industrial Park.

Council agreed to reduce the number of lanes on the Mohave Drive overpass from five lanes to four, agreeing that the extra lane would not be needed for traffic until at least 2030, and that the work could always be completed later. This measure is expected to shave $600,000 off the project cost.

Council also agreed to have ADOT look at the possibility of reducing the length of the overpass, shortening the abutments and the resulting bridge by about 37 feet, saving another $160,000 in the process. Additionally, Council agreed with recommendations to build culverts across I-40 east and west of the interchange to reduce drainage costs, to lengthen the detour at the final ramp grade, and to reconfigure the eventual intersection of the Rancho Santa Fe Parkway and Industrial Boulevard into a T-intersection.

But Council refused to sign on to suggestions to replace the one-span overpass with a less expensive - but also slightly less safe - two-span overpass. Members also agreed not to endorse replacing the Rattlesnake Wash box culvert with a bridge, arguing that the ultimate savings would be minimal.

But Council's main objections were with two recommendations that suggested reducing the number of lanes along the new Mohave Drive, which is designed to link the interchange to Airway Avenue and Industrial Boulevard to the north. Together, the recommendations urged reducing the entire roadway from six lanes to four, eliminating curbs, gutters and bike paths all the way up to Industrial.

While the suggestions would have cut nearly $2.5 million off the project's total cost, councilmembers were unanimously opposed to the idea, arguing that the heavy truck traffic the road was intended for would need the extra lanes, as would the new commuter traffic that would eventually be created as the city grows in the coming decades and as the area fills out with commercial development.

Having made its opinions clear, Council urged Public Works Director Rob Owen to relay the information to ADOT for further consideration as the project continues through the design phase.

Elsewhere on the July 20 agenda, the Kingman City Council:

• Unanimously approved a recommendation to create a new Adopt-a-Block program in the city. Under the program, civic and community groups, as well as individual families, may adopt specific streets for the purpose of cleaning them at least twice over a two-year span. In exchange, the city will install signs recognizing the program participants for their service.

• Unanimously approved authorizing Mayor John Salem to sign a resolution showing the city's support of the Interstate 11 Coalition, a group of private businesses dedicated toward the creation of a new interstate highway connecting Phoenix and Las Vegas.

• Unanimously approved authorizing a loan agreement between the city and the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority to pay for the $2.5 million design and engineering costs of upgrading the city's Downtown Wastewater Treatment Plant.

• Unanimously approved a cost-sharing agreement with Doctor's Community Hospital, LLC to split the cost of a new water booster station for the Hualapai Mountain Medical Center. The city has agreed to pay $137,482.13 of its share of the total $586,653 cost, with the hospital footing the remainder of the bill.