ALACHUA – The City of Alachua has approved a construction bid for the NW 150th Avenue and NW 142nd Terrace area, bringing the long-awaited project one step closer to completion.

During Monday’s commission meeting, the commission approved a $1.82 million bid submitted by Scherer Construction of North Florida. Construction should begin in early 2013.

The project will include the installation of an underground storm water management system, sidewalks, street-side parking and intersection realignment. The intersection is located at the corner of the City of Alachua Municipal Complex and the tennis courts.

There was originally a proposal to replace the existing four-way stop with a roundabout, but that plan has been abandoned. In an August interview, Alachua Public Works Director Mike New estimated that not putting in a roundabout would save the city between $50,000 and $75,000. The original price tag was an estimated $2.1 million.

In keeping with the design theme of the Main Street and downtown area, both NW 142nd Terrace and NW 150th Avenue will also have curbs, storm gutters, sidewalks, red brick crosswalks and paved side-street parking. The project will constitute the first major aesthetic connection between the Main Street and Alachua Towne Centre areas.

According to New, the City began advertising for formal bids in late October.

After a lengthy discussion, the commission also approved adding seven street side parking spaces on the east and west side of NW 142nd Terrace south of NW 150th Ave.

However, Mayor Gib Coerper voiced concerns about adding parking spaces near the intersection.

“Without any parking there, I’ve seen near accidents,” he said. “It’s a major concern to me…trying to put anything there.”

New said safety concerns had been taken into consideration when designing the additional spaces.

Coerper said he was also concerned residents wouldn’t use crosswalks after parking street-side.

“They’re going to get out of their car and dart across the street,” he said. “I’ve seen it a million times.”

Business owner Lisa Adel spoke out in favor of the parking spaces during the meeting’s allotted time for citizen comments.

“Those seven parking spaces are very, very important because so many have been taken away,” she said.

“I know many senior citizens who say it’s too hard to go downtown and find a place to park.”

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