125TH AVENUE RE-CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
March 7, 2022
At a meeting on March 1, 2022, the Eagle Point Town Board acted on two important items related to the re-construction of 125th Avenue. The first item of business was to confirm the board’s decision on February 17, 2022, to submit an application for Federal funding to finance the road’s reconstruction. The second item was to reject contractor bids received on February 10th for the project. The board asked that I prepare a letter to be sent to 125th Avenue property owners and posted on the town’s website to provide you and the general public with an update on the project.
In 2017, the town applied for Local Roads Improvement Project funding in the amount of $279,268 to help finance the 125th Avenue project, which, at that time, was estimated to cost in the range of $900,000 to $1,000,000. Notification of approval of the grant was received in the spring of 2018. The funding terms stipulated that the project needed to be completed by June 30, 2023. Since 2018, the town has been working on the engineering plans, property acquisition, and funding arrangements for this project along with several other needed road re-paving projects. On February 10, the town received 125th Avenue contractor bids which ranged from a low bid of $1,316,588 to a high bid of $1,691,840. The complexity of the project, increases in oil and steel prices and inflation over the five-year period contributed to greater project cost.
In January of 2022, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) announced a major Federal-road funding program known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which all of you have likely heard about on national news programs. For the first time in history, town roads are eligible for Federal funding, which will cover 80% of the project cost. The BIL program will be implemented over a five-year period and include several rounds of funding. WisDOT and the Wisconsin Towns Association have strongly encouraged towns to take advantage of this large road and bridge funding program.
On March 1, your town board finalized its February 17 decision to submit 125th Avenue for the first round of the BIL funding phase. The application is due on April 1, 2022. Towns applying for funding in this first round will be notified of acceptance or rejection by mid-May 2022. If selected, final adjustments to meet Federal requirements will be completed by August 1, 2022, and the project will be bid by the WisDOT in November of this year. Construction would be completed in 2023. Because some of the town’s project costs for 125th Avenue can’t be included in this first round, the town’s share for the total project cost will be around 28%, which is still a good deal for the town.
On the negative side, the $279,268 LRIP funding cannot be used with the Federal funding and would not be available to the town. Also, the BIL program is a competitive process and there are no guarantees that funding will be granted for this project. That said, the WisDOT is looking for “shovel ready” projects in the first round. 125th Avenue is as ready as any project can be and is viewed as an excellent candidate for funding under the BIL program. If not selected in the first round, we are able to resubmit for the second round of BIL funding scheduled for August of this year.
What happens if no BIL funding is received for this project? While the current town board cannot predict what future town boards may decide, it is safe to assume that improvements to 125th Avenue, especially the re-construction at the hill and replacement of culverts and widening of the road at various locations will remain on the town’s long range road plan. Work already completed for right-of-way acquisitions and engineering will save time and expense for a future 125th Avenue project.
We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we pursue the BIL funding process and strive to manage this road project along with several other road, equipment, and space needs in the town.