The Laramie City Council had to decide whether to move forward with an underground sewer project or postpone to include designing, funding and paving a section of Second Street.
The council voted almost unanimously during its Tuesday meeting to continue the C-Line Sewer Outfall Project without immediate plans to pave the unpaved section of Second Street once the project is complete.
City staff recommended the city move forward with the project, which was originally proposed to council in June, without plans in place to pave the dirt road. Typically, the city tries to pave streets as it does work underneath them, a priority Councilman Charles McKinney said he still considers important.
“I think it’s time to build the street,” McKinney said. “If we’re going to tear it up, if we’re going to put in a sewer line, we might as well put the infrastructure in there and get it done.”
Malea Brown, director of administrative services, said while the city would like to pave the street, the process of obtaining the funding and designing the street would push the project back years.
“Because our construction seasons are so limited, it takes a year to design and a year to do the street,” Brown said. “So, we would prefer — if this is something that council desires to do — to do it in a work session with all the streets so there is a discussion of monies.”
Delaying this project would also further delay future projects, like upgrades to Ivinson Avenue, added City Manager Janine Jordan. If the C-Line project gets pushed back two years, Jordan said the needed Ivinson improvements could be postponed for as much as seven years.
“No one is saying we shouldn’t do the street work, but [council] didn’t appropriate funds for it, either for design or for construction,” Jordan said. “But [council] can certainly do that in the coming weeks.”
Brooks Webb, interim Public Works director, said the city will replace 2,000 linear feet of deteriorating clay pipe with new, larger, plastic pipe. He added the project spans 10 city blocks, from the intersection of Second and Hancock streets to the intersection of Sixth and Canby streets.
The almost $2.5 million project will help avoid a flow bottleneck on Sixth Street and will help prevent areas of exceeding flow on Ivinson Ave, especially as the next phases of the project focus on Ivinson, said William Winkler, a civil engineer with the city.
With the recent passing of the specific purpose tax, Jordan and Brown said council will have a meeting later this spring to allocate funding to different street projects — including Second Street — which the council considers to be a priority as part of the Street Capital Plan.
McKinney raised concerns that the sewer project is to accommodate the University of Wyoming, but Jordan said the upgrades were just areas in need of repair and had “nothing to do” with the university.
The motion to move forward with the C-Line construction passed. McKinney voted no on the measure.