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Alleys to get $488,337 city makeover
State Proposition 1B fund pays for work
The city will be paving alleys like this one between Caswell Avenue and Beachwood Drive from state bond funds. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER / The Courier

Ten thousand linear feet of alley will soon be paved in Ceres from a state fund approved by passage of Proposition 1B in 2010.

The Ceres City Council approved the awarding of a $488,337 contract for the work at its Feb. 25 meeting. The council awarded the bid to Rolfe Construction of Atwater, the lowest bidder on the project, after beating out the next lowest bidder, George Reed, Inc. Reed submitted a bid of $522,910. The project carries a $58,600 contingency to take care of unforeseen costs as well as additional work.

The city was allocated $600,000 in 2011 from the $19.925 billion bond funds. The city decided to spend the money to design, grade, construct and inspect alley paving. Cities and counties are required by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to pave all unpaved roads because passing automobiles pick up dust and fling it into the air.

The work will include an 18-inch concrete valley gutter. Each alley will be paved to a total improved width of 16 feet.

The majority of the alley work will be done east and west of Central Avenue, north of Caswell Avenue. Two alleys south of Caswell Avenue will also be paved. Once the 15 alleys are paved, there is more to do in future years, said City Engineer Toby Wells.

The additional contingency was requested of the council to ensure that all the $600,000 allocated would be expended by June 30, lest it be returned to the state.

Councilman Mike Kline questioned the large contingency in excess of 10 percent. Wells said that since the bids came in 15 percent under the engineer's estimate to save an approximate $75,000, city staff decided to ask for a larger contingency. The money could not be spent elsewhere because of the time it would take to engineer another project and meet the June 30 deadline.

"We already are at the point where weren't not able do all of the alleys that were originally allocated," said Wells.

Part of another alley will be constructed as a result of the expanded contingency. "We intend to spend every dime," said Wells.

The work is expected to commence in to the middle or end of this month and be completed by June.

Prop. 1B funds have been used in Ceres to install the signal light at Blaker and Services and alley paving in the downtown area. Last year the city paved six alleys in the downtown area with $325,000 of Prop. 1B funds.

Wells said in most cases, alleys will never be considered for abandonment and given to adjacent property owners because they contain essential services, such as power lines and water lines. Development today generally does not include alleys in residential areas.