The Laramie City Council voted this week to award a construction bid to have a traffic light at the intersection of 22nd and Reynolds streets installed.
The city has hired Simon Contractors of Laramie to complete the traffic light this summer at a price of $429,078. Hamaker Excavation also bid on the project. The installation is expected to be completed by August.
The intersection, located right next to Laramie Middle School and Laramie Fire Station No. 2, has been notorious for long wait times, especially for those traveling north or south on 22nd Street or for pedestrians trying to cross Reynolds to get to school.
“We hear from the community a lot about getting this project done and I’m glad we’re moving forward at this time,” said Brooks Webb, the city’s public works director.
The traffic light project includes upgrades to the intersection’s sidewalks and dyed concreted cross walks that city staff said should “provide higher pedestrian visibility and lower on-going maintenance costs.”
“There are so many children that cross that intersection,” council-member Erin O’Doherty said. “It’s a dangerous intersection and we owe this to our community.”
The city also contracted with another Laramie company, DOWL, at a price of $16,500 to provide construction management for the project. DOWL was also the firm that completed design work for the project.
Because of the installation of turn lanes, the project will mean the loss of some adjacent street parking, but not as much as presented in DOWL’s original designs that were supported by Albany County School District No. 1.
With the availability of street parking a chronic concern in Laramie, city staff opted to move forward with a scaled-back redesign that “removes the least amount of parking while still maintaining safety and operational efficiency for multi-modal transportation,” according to a memo from Webb.
“I wasn’t too thrilled about turn lanes on every single direction,” council-member Bryan Shuster said. “It’s probably a good thing to have a signal there but I’m disappointed about the loss of parking. I know the staff picked the lesser of two evils but I still think it’s an evil.”
The installation of the light also frustrated some who live nearby and didn’t find out about the city’s plans until recently.
Kelsie Speiser, who lives on an adjacent block, told council-members at a work session that she wasn’t made aware that a light was being installed until March.
She said the city should’ve issued written notifications to more residents in the area.
Webb said that the city’s practices for issuing written notifications varies from project to project.
For the 22nd and Reynolds light, Webb said written notifications were sent to residents who had potential to lose parking.
For another project that city council approved Tuesday, a resurfacing of the Second and Third streets alley between Grand Avenue and Garfield Street, Webb said that written notification was issued solely to landowners adjacent to the alley.
The alley project is also with Simon Contractors for a price of $113,482.
O’Doherty said “this isn’t the first time” the city has heard complaints about written notifications.
“I’d certainly be interested in expanding that radius to include a few more neighbors,” she said Tuesday.