The City Council approved a resolution last Tuesday for the project that will bring North Ninth Street into alignment with Heartland Ranch Avenue at Ward Avenue.
The project will shift the Ward Avenue end of Ninth Street to the south, to align it with Heartland Ranch Avenue, which will make the intersection safer. Additional streetlights will also be added.
The long-awaited undertaking has been planned outside of the school year in collaboration with PJUSD to minimize the impact on PHS students, Engineering Manager Tiffany Rodriguez said. Consent items related to the project were also approved.
Bids for the project came in considerably higher than the $741,898 in state grant money the city originally planned around. The budget is now $1,266,553, which includes a 10 percent contingency. An additional $116,991 in local city construction funds, along with $407,663 from the general fund payment reserve.
The biggest increase in cost, Rodriguez said, is in materials, such as asphalt and concrete.
Despite virtually universal support and enthusiasm, the item was nearly tabled by discussion surrounding the possibility of adding a right turn lane.
Councilmember Dennis McCord pushed for the turn lane, pointing out that the project configuration meets “a need that we identified maybe a decade ago.”
Mayor Novelli echoed that concern, pointing out that realigning the intersection was “one of the first projects that I fought for when I came on (the Council) in 2010.
After lively discussion, during which everyone agreed that the lane is needed now and staff agreed to bring back options, the group passed the resolution.
City Manager Ken Irwin, contacted after the meeting, said the turn lane could be created with paint, as well as prohibiting parking in the turn lane itself.
City officials are hoping to complete the project by the end of summer, Rodriguez said, and will need to close the roads for approximately two weeks at some point. The project was timed around the PHS football schedule, she said.
The Council also approved weed and trash abatements for several properties.