City officials took another step this week in a multi-phase project to improve the River Street corridor on the east side of Carthage.

City officials took another step this week in a multi-phase project to improve the River Street corridor on the east side of Carthage.
The Carthage City Council voted to accept the bid from Bennett Construction Inc., for $447,883,50 to install traffic signals and turn lanes at the intersection of Fairview Avenue and River Street.
The city opened the bids on Tuesday, Dec. 5, and Council's Public Works Committee recommended approval of the low bid by a unanimous vote.
Bennett was the low bidder of eight companies that sumitted bids on the project. The rest of the bids ranged from approximately $454,000 to $605,000.
City Administrator Tom Short said the low bid exceeded the amount the city budgeted for the project this year by a little more than $100,000, but Short and Public Works Director Zeb Carney will go back to the company after the full council approves the bid and negotiate on some specific elements of the project to try and reduce the cost.

Corridor improvements
This is the third of a multi-phase project to improve the River Street corridor between Fairview Avenue and Carthage High School.
River Street is a primary north-south corridor on the east side of Carthage that serves hundreds of vehicles a day and runs by three schools and the Carthage High School football stadium.
The project includes widening Fairview Avenue at the intersection to install turn lanes, and installing traffic signals on poles and booms reaching out over the roadway.
Similar changes were made two years ago at River Street and Airport Drive near the Carthage High School in phase one of the River Street Corridor project.
The second phase was finished last year and included widening River from Airport Drive to Fairview and installing a turn lane along that entire length.

Delays
The Fairview-River intersection project was delayed for several weeks earlier as the city and the Missouri Department of Transportation negotiated over elements of the project.
Earlier this year, city officials decided to take ownership of Fairview Avenue from Garrison Avenue to Buena Vista Street from MoDOT after the state required some changes that increased the cost of this project.
“The state owned the right of way on Fairview, but they didn't pay any of the costs of maintenance,” Short said. “The city was responsible for all maintenance on the road, but the state could require us to make changes to the project. We negotiated with the state over the past few months and as soon as we get the paperwork back from them, we'll own the right of way on Fairview.”
Short said the city sent the project out to bid with the state requirements, but now that the city owns it, it may decide to change those requirements.
For example, the state required a concrete cap on part of the ditches along Fairview Avenue around River Street.
Public Works Director Zeb Carney said that requirement alone added $50,000 to the project costs, but once it owns the right of way, the city can remove that requirement if it wishes and save that cost.
Short said original plans would have had the intersection completed by now, but after the delay, he's hoping to get the intersection finished before June 30, which is the end of the City's fiscal year.