NDOT gave an update to the Main Street Program recently, that appears as though it is moving forward.

Jae Pullen, project manager for NDOT, indicated they were still on schedule. It was mentioned that a couple of sentinel signs would be relocated, so that the signs could be lit and have a better presence. 

Light receptacles in the downtown corridor we’re discussed at great length. It had been anticipated that for the main street program,  the light receptacles were going to be the decorative lighting, but there were some unanticipated voltage issues from 240 to 140. Pullen noted some possible solutions, but it also created a $240,000 increase to the project.  

“I asked them to look at different scenarios, what if the voltage was changed from the poles, and I was surprised by the outcome, I thought that since we were sharing, and having two separate systems that it would be cheaper but when they came back with a figure it doubled the price to $260,000,”  Pullen said.   

With some of the cost innovations NDOT has been working on, Pullen asked them to move forward with the light receptacles using the separate 120 system, making some headway with the contractor on ways to save money.  Pullen said, “I believe we can burden the additional cost to finish the project.” 

Pullen thanked the Ely City Council and Mayor for approving the dump fees and water fees for the contractor.  The savings would be $80,000.  The project is on schedule to be approved before the Transportation Board in February.

A recap of the project and phases were explained. 

“The heart of the project is the downtown corridor.  Obviously some of the goals of the project, one being to improve the drain project, the other was the beautification lighting, the ADA for the sidewalks curb and gutter, the heart of it was the improvements of the downtown,” Pullen said.   

The project was limited to $26 million with package one, now it has increased it to $28 million because NDOT is anticipating a reimbursement from the city for the utility relocation, but with that money it wasn’t going to be enough to complete the work for the main street. 

Outfall area from Ogden to Murry creek, which was $6 million to perform that work cut into the project. The hard decision had to be made Pullen said to how far the project could go with the money allocated.   The project will stop at 10th street.  

Main Street program member Donna Bath asked why NDOT was stopping at 10th street.  

Pullen said, “If I had the money I’d go all the way to 15th, that was the original intent, but it’s about a million dollars a block, and I was hoping through innovations … I went through a  list of 15 items, wittled them down to eight, and by in terms of what we were willing to accept, to save money and I didn’t mention it before but I looked at it if we could save a million, we could make it to 11, but then we started hitting things, I understand light receptacles, elevations weren’t matching on design.  

“I’m looking at $800,000 to do a road to match the elevation to make it work for drainage. To stay within the budget we have in this project I couldn’t go past 10th street.”

Bath stressed how important 11th street was with the railroad, one of the biggest attractions of the City of Ely, and White Pine County being located on that particular street.  

Bath asked if an additional million would help the project go to 11th street.  

Pullen said, “If that money came available, yes. I really wanted to make the February board and when we were going through designs, with the utility conflicts, I made the decision that we better push it to the April meeting.   I can’t speak for the transportation board, but if you sit on a project for too long you might miss the opportunity for that project to go.” 

The other project that has been put on the shelf for now is package B would be $40 million.  

Bath said, “You just jumped up $10 million, is it still $30 million, or did it jump up to 40 million?” 

Pullen, “$30-23 million was the estimate, I’m also including finishing Aultman for 10-15th street.”