By Judy Sheridan
Aledo City Council members found themselves very much in the dark Thursday night as they sought answers to questions about the street lighting plans for the Aledo Trail couplet.
In the end, they emerged with a solution and a schedule, but they may have accepted a short delay.
Chris Bosco, of Freese & Nichols, the firm managing the construction of Aledo Trail for Parker County, asked the council to approve an engineering design for the project’s street lights, so the contractor could order the light poles, which have a long lead time.
As the council examined the design, however, they discovered they needed a lot more information.
The number of lights (10) and their spacing had been estimated — not analyzed — as well as the 30-foot height of the poles. There were no lights for the westbound turnaround lane on the north side, Mayor Pro Tem Bill McLeRoy noted, and no coordination with another Freese & Nichols team contracted last month to plan the couplet’s interior.
New Councilwoman Kim Hiebert noted a spot where a light pole with two arms and two lights might work better than a pole with one.
“If we don’t know if we want 20-foot or 30-foot poles because we don’t have a lighting study yet, how can we approve anything,” Councilwoman Jean Bailey asked.
“Can we just authorize the lighting study to determine how many lights and how high the lights are,” Councilman Kerby Smith asked.
Mayor Kit Marshall asked Bosco if going ahead with the design and waiting on ordering the poles would be a catastrophe.
“No, the end result is, it may delay us a month on the back end,” he said. “They’d be able to do the foundation, and when the poles came they’d assemble them.”
Marshall said she was disappointed in the project’s contractor because “he didn’t have his stuff together.”
“This council is accustomed to making wise decisions with finite money based on data and information that helps them make the best decisions,” she said. “This information has been out there.”
When Marshall asked about a lighting plan for the interior of the couplet, Bosco said he assumed he was only looking at lighting the roadways.
City Administrator Ken Pfeifer, however, said the council had approved a contract with Freese & Nichols for the interior, too.
“Whatever’s done here on the lighting covers both the street and the interior,” he said.
After some discussion about schedule, the council approved spending $18,200 for the lighting study, stipulating a 15-day turnaround followed by council and Economic Development Corporation approval.
Freese and Nichols must then produce plans for the contractor within another 15 days, according to the motion.
The study will consider the glare factor as it might affect the Union Pacific Railroad, per the concerns of Public Works Director Gordon Smith, and both teams from Freese & Nichols must coordinate with each other as the plan progresses.
Regarding the added cost, Freese & Nichols will amend their contract with the county, Bosco said, and the county and city will enter into an interlocal agreement.
In other action the council:
• Approved the annexation of 12 acres of land south of town for the proposed Brookhollow subdivision.
• Reappointed Bill McLeRoy as Mayor Pro Tem.
• Decided to meet Tuesday, May 28, at 7 p.m. to consider a road closure related to First Friday, June 7.
By Judy Sheridan
- Aledo ExtrA
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