Costs Rise For City Park Trail

But Council Accepts Bid For Bluestone Trail Project

Posted: March 13, 2014

Harrisonburg continues to work on its downtown streetscape project, which has included adding flower pots on Main Street. (Photos by Nikki Fox / DN-R)
At the corner of Water and South Main streets in Harrisonburg, new flowerpots brighten up the sidewalk. The city’s downtown streetscape project includes sidewalk reconstruction, curb ramp additions, new lighting, landscaping and replacement of traffic poles.

HARRISONBURG — Waiting is a two-way street for city officials as they approach a pair of infrastructure projects.

Additional improvements to Main Street downtown are temporarily on hold, while the Bluestone Trail, a proposed path between Ramblewood Park and James Madison University’s entrance at Port Republic Road, will move forward thanks to an ability to stay patient on yet another project.

On the downtown streetscape, a single bid for construction came in last week more than $300,000 above the city’s projected $1.1 million cost, City Manager Kurt Hodgen told City Council on Tuesday.

The project includes sidewalk reconstruction, replacement of traffic signal poles, landscaping and more on the west side of Main Street from Bruce to Wolfe streets.

Construction was set to begin May 1, but will be delayed because of costs.

All is not lost, however. Hodgen said city staff will meet with the lone bidder, Faulconer Construction of Charlottesville, to try to reach an agreement and, if unsuccessful, can still either put the project out to bid again or scale it back.

Changing the design may be worth discussing because a smaller project would be easier to maintain and cause less disruption during construction, Hodgen said. The city completed the first phase of the streetscape in 2010, bringing upgrades to the east side of Main Street from Bruce to Elizabeth streets.

Green To Blue

For the Bluestone Trail, the city sought bids for two pieces of the project’s first phase: from Butler Street to Port Republic Road, which James Madison University will fund, and from Butler to Stone Spring Road (through Purcell Park).

The lowest apparent bid among three submitted last week for the Butler-Stone Spring portion was $75,000 above the city’s budgeted amount for construction, Hodgen said.

The apparent lowest bid of $1 million came from Hammond-Mitchell Inc. in Covington.

Hodgen said the city could accept the bid and transfer money allocated to the Northend Greenway, a multiuse path planned to connect the Park View area to downtown.

Council approved that request Tuesday.

Groundbreaking for the greenway is a year away, organizers say, and Hodgen said the city will replenish its financial commitment to the project. The city and state have each committed $600,000 to the greenway.

The Bluestone Trail’s initial phase could open by the end of the year, Hodgen said. A later piece will take it to Ramblewood.

Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or

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