Chavasse Avenue widening may wait until 2008

During the report of the Public Works Committee at the Henderson City Council’s regular meeting on January 22, City Manager Jerry Moss reported that funds for the Chavasse Avenue widening project are now in place.

However, City Engineer Frank Frazier informed the Council that after conversing with state officials that construction on the project may not begin until the spring of 2008.

The project has already faced significant delays. At first, there were issues in obtaining the land necessary for the widening. There was also an unexpected interval between the time when the money for the project was promised by Representative Jim Crawford and when it appeared on the state ledger for the street-widening effort.

Frazier broke down the time frame of the project for Council members. According to the City Engineer, engineering on the project can begin by April 1. He explained that the design phase of the project would take 45 to 60 days and would be performed by an outside contractor. After that, utilities would have to be moved.

Frazier noted that the City could assist with the moving of utilities.

It was also stated that the railroad had not given a firm committment on changing the signalization at the railroad crossing, an integral part of the project.

Frazier explained that by the time this preliminary work was done, it would be too late in the year to begin contstruction, meaning that the actual contruction phase would have to wait for warmer weather to resume.

Henderson Mayor Clem Seifert asked if the state had given the City of Henderson the option of performing the work. He also suggested that the City revisit the issue with the state and see if their time frame is, in fact, firm.

Moss expressed reluctance at having the City do the work.

“It’s a major project with everything else we have going on,” Moss told the Council.

“Where’s the work for us?” Seifert countered.

City Council member Elissa Yount asked if the state could do the engineering portion of the project and the City take over from there.

Moss advised against Yount’s suggested course of action.

“Let’s not get mixed up with two agencies doing the same thing,” Moss said.

Seifert stated that a start date of spring 2008 was “unacceptable”.

Council member Lynn Harper made a motion for members to support beginning the project before the spring of 2008. She suggested that there should be documents to support where the state had said that they were ready to begin the project when Henderson secured the necessary funding.

Frazier informed members that the Chavasse Avenue project was just one of many state projects in Henderson’s division.

The Council’s motion passed without opposition.

It was decided that Moss would meet with state officials and try to push its proposed dates forward.