By Kay Thompson
For a long time, residents of Okemah have been talking about the conditions of the streets. In recent years, the Okemah City Council has budgeted money to get the streets repaired. However, the previous city treasurer did not roll over the unused funds for streets and just returned the funds to the general account.
When discussion for the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget was being held in May and June 2018, the council was adamant that the street fund be fully funded.
Former City Manager Bert Robison and City Treasurer Relena Haddox obliged and appropriated $500,000 into the capital improvement fund for streets. Along with the money in the general fund earmarked for streets, the city had a budget of $652,922 to use for the project.
The city went out for bids for street repair and opened bids on Tuesday, September 25. CEC Infrastructure Solutions estimated the cost of performing a two inch asphalt overlay on approximately 45 blocks as the base bid and an additional six blocks as alternate 1 should cost $562,985.
The base bids ranged from $319,920 to $531,303. Ross Construction out of Muskogee had the best and lowest bid at $395,495.50 for the base bid plus the alternate 1.
In a special city council meeting held on Thursday, September 27, the city council met to discuss the submitted bids. Interim City Manger Dustin Danker presented the bids and stated that Ross was ready to begin the project on October 8 if the contract was approved. The council voted unanimously to accept the bid from Ross Construction for $395,495.50 for a two inch asphalt overlay on 51 blocks.
The engineering firm, CEC, will be overseeing the project. Project Manger Terry Swayze confirmed that Ross will begin on October 8 and the project should take approximately three weeks depending on weather. The project will start with a tack coat, a sticky oil substance, being laid down first to help the asphalt adhere to the current road. Swayze warned that if you drive through the tack coat, it will get on your vehicle and will be tracked into your driveway. Swayze said that the manholes and drain boxes will be adjusted for the new height of the street. He also confirmed that the only brick street that will be covered up is the portion of East Broadway in front of Okemah Oil Company.
Danker requested that starting on the 8th to please move vehicles and other items out of the streets so the construction company can work unencumbered.