Washington City Council members Monday night selected the scope of the Highway 100 beautification project and tentatively decided to go with N.B. West Contracting Company to construct several landscaped medians east of Highway 47.

A final decision on awarding a contract for the work will be made in January depending on approval by MoDOT.

City Engineer Dan Boyce said a council decision was needed Monday night in order to submit a “Request for Concurrence to Award a Contract” to MoDOT officials.

“After concurrence is received, an ordinance to award a contract will be on the Jan. 7, 2013, city council agenda,” Boyce said in a letter to the council.

The city received bids last week from six construction firms on a base bid and three options.

The vote was 4 to 2 to go with the base bid and the Alternate B option. Members Joe Holtmeier, Connie Groff, Tim Brinker and Steve Sullentrup voted yes. Walt Meyer and Mark Hidritch voted no.

Hidritch said as a liaison to the fire department he has heard nothing but negative comments about the landscaped medians and said there are concerns that someone could toss out a cigarette butt and cause a fire in the median plantings.

Last year, the city was awarded a $604,823 federal enhancement grant for the project. The city’s match is $151,206 in local funds. The grant pays for 80 percent of the project cost, including the engineering and design work.

After engineering and design costs, the city is left with approximately $680,000 for construction expenses.

The N.B. West bid for the base and Alternate B options is $656,793.83. Coming in second for those options was Gershenson Construction Co. at $665,145.09.

Project Scope

The base project involves median improvements along these sections:

• Far West — from a point west of the JCPenney store to the east for about 756 feet to Washington Heights Drive;

• West — from a point east of Washington Heights Drive for 250 feet to Camp Street; and

• East — from a point east of A. Roy Drive for a distance of about 760 feet.

Alternate A called for extending the median enhancements between Rabbit Trail Drive and Brookview Drive, a distance of 1,075 feet.

With Alternate A added in, all of the bids were higher than the $680,000 construction budget. Building that alternate would require spending an extra $126,073 in city funds.

Preferred Alternate

Alternate B shortens those extra median enhancements to about a 325-foot section to the west of Brookview.

All of the landscaped areas would have underground irrigation under the scope of the work.

“The base bid plus Option B would utilize all but $18,136 in federal dollars,” Boyce told the council. He said that would provide a “good cushion” if there are change orders to the project.

“It is the recommended option under current budget constraints,” Boyce said.

He said the city also could look at extending the median in the Alternate B plan in the future since the irrigation system already would be installed.

“It’s nice to know that we will be giving some of the money back,” Sullentrup said. “It’s not often we can do that.”

Option C, which is the same as Option B but without irrigation, “is not recommended,” Boyce said in his letter. That option, would require using a water tank truck to irrigate plants, would leave $23,736 in federal dollars unutilized, he said. “The savings of $7,000 would not compensate for the necessary manual irrigation supply.”

The project also includes additional signage and bike path markings along the shoulders.

The tentative timetable calls for construction to start next spring.

Plantings for the new landscaped median strips will be done in the fall of 2013 to give the plants the best chance to thrive, city officials have said.

Preliminary plans call for most of the landscaped medians to be planted with native wildflowers and grasses that can grow from 1.5 to 3 feet tall. There also are areas where 3- to 5-foot-tall shrubs will be planted.