WUFT News

At Last, Gainesville’s Northwest 16th Avenue Will Soon Be Less Bumpy

By on November 5th, 2013
Alachua County will meet Nov. 12 to approve a bid and construction plans for the stretch of road between Northwest 57 Terrace to the Northwest 13th Street, including Northwest 16th Avenue.

Colleen Wright / WUFT News

Alachua County will meet Nov. 12 to approve a bid and construction plans for the stretch of road between Northwest 57 Terrace to the Northwest 13th Street, including Northwest 16th Avenue.

Gainesville’s Northwest 16th Avenue corridor might be one week away from getting the green light for a makeover.

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners will meet Nov. 12 to approve the bid ranking and construction contract surrounding improvements of the four-mile stretch between Northwest 57 Terrace to the Northwest 13th Street.

The project includes repaving the road, widening the sidewalk to seven and a half feet, replacing the bordering walls, bicycle lanes, median changes, extending the five-lane section of Northwest 23rd Street west to Northwest 57th Terrace, and modifying the intersection at Northwest 55th Street.

Following an approval, a pre-construction conference will be held Nov. 18. Once the contractor receives a nod from the county, the company will have 330 days to complete the project, leaving room for inclement weather and construction delays.

The contract includes incentives for finishing work on time as well as requiring placement of message boards on the corridor to alert drivers of pending construction and changes to traffic patterns.

The county received three bids since bidding opened Oct. 16.

If the plans are approved by the county commission, Anderson Columbia Co. Inc., will win the project for $7.5 million; $7 million for the base bid and $500,000 in contingency funds. Tony Williams of Anderson Columbia Co. Inc. did not return phone calls.

Alachua County Transportation Engineering Manager Brian Singleton said the project began conceptually years before a 2011 approval. The project went through public involvement, and the county commission finalized a design last year.

“There have been quite a bit of phone calls on getting it resurfaced,” he said.

Beginning this past February, the county patched potholes along Northwest 16th Avenue.

Construction is anticipated to begin in December, but the launch is left up to the contractor, Singleton said. He said residents along the corridor may experience lane closures in some locations.

The Northwest 16th Avenue project is the latest venture in a string of improvements around Alachua County.

“It’s one of the projects that’s approved with the five cent local option gas tax instituted in 2007,” he said. The county commission voted on the tax in 2007 and the county began raising funds in 2008.

According to county records, the county design staff was directed to use a “shared lane” option, requiring on-street markers and signs alerting drivers that bicyclists share the lane.

It’s a change Shannon Mallon, a 20-year-old University of Florida architecture junior, is most excited about.

Mallon, of the 2300 block of Northwest 16th Avenue, rides her bike to campus five days a week. She said the road improvements were overdue, particularly in areas where a four-foot bike lane is nonexistent.

“I’ve had a couple close calls,” she said.


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