City to consider paying a portion of overtime hours to speed up US 40 project
May 22, 2010
Steamboat Springs — With the U.S. Highway 40 repaving project about 3 1/2 weeks behind schedule, Steamboat Springs' director of public works plans to propose that the city chip in for a portion of the overtime cost to get the work done faster.
If approved by the Steamboat Springs City Council, the proposal would pay the difference between regular and overtime pay so that Scott Contracting employees could clock more hours each week. An estimate of the cost of the overtime work and what the city might be responsible for was not available Friday.
Public Works Director Philo Shelton said the overtime pay would help get construction done faster and possibly would keep the streets clear of construction until after Labor Day. Scott Contracting workers currently are working between 40 and a maximum of 65 hours per week. The city is not paying for any of the project, including Scott Contracting employee hours.
Shelton said he will present the idea to City Council at its June 1 meeting. He said he had some initial cost estimates but declined to reveal them until their accuracy was confirmed by project managers.
Because it is a negotiated item, Scott Contracting project information manager Jody Patten said Scott Contracting did not want to release the possible cost of overtime work to the city before the issue goes to City Council.
Crews are contractually obligated to stop the road work June 30 and not resume until Sept. 1. However, Shelton said the city would like the streets clear through the Labor Day holiday Sept. 6, and if crews could work overtime before and after, they could delay the restart. Scott Contracting must be finished with construction Nov. 12 or it will face daily fines.
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3rd Street next to close
The massive construction project will move farther east next week, thereby shutting down one of the city's busiest intersections. Project officials say access to Third Street and the downtown post office could be cut off as soon as Tuesday, but more likely Wednesday or Thursday.
Construction crews will not close Third Street until Seventh Street is open as an alternate route, Patten said. Patten said project managers also want to open 11th Street to give an extra access point from Lincoln Avenue into Old Town.
Crews plan to work during the weekend to prepare the street for paving next week. Patten said the area east of the Seventh Street intersection to Fifth Street will be the top priority early next week.
Patten also said left turns will be allowed from Lincoln Avenue onto 11th and 12th streets, with a flagger at 11th Street helping cars cross traffic. A police officer will be stationed at Seventh Street once that intersection is open, and there will be no left turns from Lincoln Avenue east of Seventh Street, but cars will be able to turn left and right from Seventh Street onto Lincoln Avenue.
School bus use up
The closure of the Third Street intersection is likely to impact traffic patters to and from Steamboat schools.
Steamboat Springs School District Transportation Director Ed Dingledine said several morning bus routes were pushed five minutes earlier to get students to school on time in the traffic, but buses mostly have been avoiding the area by using Tamarack Drive and Hilltop Parkway. Going west, buses are going all the way to 12th Street to get on Lincoln Avenue.
Dingledine said more students are riding buses to and from school since the construction project began — especially from the west side of town — but the buses are not yet overcrowded.
"This time of year there are a lot of after-school activities," he said, meaning the bus ridership evens out.