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Diamond Drive work to resume

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By Katy Korkos

With winter officially ending in less than one month, the Diamond Drive project is set to gear up once again. Phase 2 of the project will take up where Phase 1 left off last fall – beginning near 35th Street and continuing to the intersection with 39th Street, Project Manager Rey Gonzales said Thursday. When all four phases are complete, projected to be in 2010, the road will have been completely reworked from the  roundabout to the bridge, including the replacement of utilities carried under the roadway, safer intersections, continuous bike lanes and better lighting.Asbestos abatement began this week on the county-owned house located on the east corner of Diamond Drive and 38th Street. The contractor will be removing material containing non-friable asbestos, such as insulation, siding and linoleum. The removed materials will be contained and transported to an appropriate disposal site in accordance with all applicable regulations.The house will be demolished to make room for a wider right of way at the intersection, as well as for earth moving that will take place during construction. The sightline for cars driving on “Conoco Hill,” as it is popularly called, will be improved by leveling the top of the hill somewhat, Public Works director Kyle Zimmerman said in December, when he showed the county council the design for Phase 2.Council will consider the award of the construction contract at Tuesday’s meeting. Gonzales said county staff will recommend  council award the contract to low bidder A.S. Horner, who also did the construction work on Phase 1.Phase 1, the section of Diamond Drive from the San Ildefonso roundabout to 35th Street, was completed on time and under budget last fall, although some warranty work near the roundabout is still needed after the weather warms up. Identified warranty work includes the repair of the Open Graded Friction Course (a product that enhances traction) in the area of the roundabout, and other minor items.“That material needs to be applied when the temperature is 59 degrees and rising, not 59 degrees and falling,” Gonzales said, “so it will likely be several more weeks. We’ll keep it maintained and swept, and possibly get it milled,” but the contractor would responsible for completing the repair work as soon as the weather allows.The construction budget for Phase 1 was $6,527,037 and was completed at approximately $6,063,000.Gonzales said that the bids for Phase 2 also came in lower than designers estimated. “It was very competitively bid,” Gonzales said. Council will be asked to approve a total Phase 2 budget of $8,852,000, of which $4,376,385 will be roadway work, $2,205,162 is for the utilities work, and the remaining amount will be spent on design work, testing, inspection and contingency funds.Originally, it was thought that the project could be completed over three construction seasons in three phases. As the design team discussed the Phase 2 design, however, a concern was raised regarding the amount of rock excavation that will be required in Phase 2 and the time that it would take to install the associated utilities. The design team was also concerned about potential delays that could be caused by relocation of Comcast and Qwest lines. The design team decided to reduce the length of Phase 2 to a size that could be completed in one construction season, thereby reducing the risk of not completing the Phase 2 construction before winter.As a result of re-phasing, Phase 2 will start at the golf course (just west of 35th Street) and go to south of School Canyon (just south of 39th Street). Phase 3 will start south of School Canyon and continue to North Road, and Phase 4 will be from North Road to the Los Alamos Canyon Bridge.The re-phasing adds one construction season to the project. Construction is set to begin next month.