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Edmond: City Council OKs funds toward stimulus projects

Edmond: City Council OKs funds toward stimulus projects

 


The Edmond Sun

EDMOND Edmond City Council members Monday approved funds toward obtaining federal grants for stimulus-related projects including a new traffic operations center.

The council approved spending $25,000 for a professional services agreement with Kimley-Horn and Associates for the federal grants, known as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants.

Federal funds are being sought for intelligent transportation system infrastructure, the Kelly Avenue and Burlington Northern Santa Fe overpass and the Covell Parkway from Boulevard to Interstate 35 project.

Steve Manek, city engineering director, said because these applications are due by Sept. 15 time is of the essence. Kimley-Horn is completing an intelligent transportation system feasibility study for the city, and staff recommended the agreement so the needed applications can be completed, Manek said.

The funds are related to the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed by President Barack Obama in February. As part of the stimulus package, $1.5 billion in discretionary grant funding was provided to the U.S. Department of Transportation to be awarded for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure.

The $2 million to $4 million intelligent system infrastructure project involves the design, construction and implementation of an advanced transportation management system for the city, according to information provided by the City Council. It will include new fiber optic cable, a traffic control system upgrade, new traffic signal controllers and a traffic operations center.

A minimum of $16 would be saved by motorists for every ITS dollar the city would spend on signal timing, Kent Kacir, an engineer with Kimley-Horn said in a previous report. These benefits would include reduced travel time and fuel emissions. The average person’s time is worth $14 an hour, Kacir said.

The roughly $20 million Kelly Avenue-BNSF interchange project involves the reconstruction of the Kelly Avenue-BNSF crossing to include a grade separated railroad crossing. The project includes the coordination and connection with the Kelly Road-U.S. 77-Memorial Drive intersection.

Lastly, the roughly $35 million East Covell Road project involves the reconstruction of Covell Road between Broadway and I-35, and expanding the existing roadway from a two-lane undivided roadway to a four-lane divided parkway.

Manek said grant approvals will be announced in February by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The city hopes each project will be fully funded by the grants, he said.

The Obama administration predicts the stimulus package will save and create 3 million to 4 million jobs during the next two years. Critics have said stimulus funds are not being dispersed fast enough.

As of March 26, Oklahoma had budgeted $2.6 billion of stimulus money for projects in areas including health and human services, transportation, energy and education, according to recovery.ok.gov.

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