Economic exploration

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City eyes energy industry for assist in paying for roadway repairs: PAGE 3



Jeremy Johnson


FORT LUPTON — City officials think it might be time to put the squeeze on locally operating oil and gas companies believed to be largely responsible for some deteriorating roadways in Fort Lupton.


Officials had a “concrete” discussion about street and sidewalk projects May 28 during a town hall meeting at City Hall. And while Public Works Director Marco Carani said the slate of upcoming projects is pleasantly under budget — leading officials to wonder if they can stretch the allotted money even further — he and others discussed whether it’s time to ask local oil-and-gas outfits to contribute to the repair of roads, particularly those that see the most industry traffic.

Carani said the only bid submitted for paving projects slated for both Rollie Avenue and 14th Street came from Colorado Concrete Construction, an East Lake company that worked with the city several times in the past. Carani said CCC’s $87,439 bid was more than $12,000 under the $100,000 budgeted for those projects.

“(CCC is) the same company we’ve had the last few years … their quality of work is top notch, so I wasn’t too concerned about having just one bidder,” Carani said. “I think it was a very fair price — my original estimate came in at $101,000, so they blew it away pretty well.”

Carani said Rollie Avenue would be paved from Third to Ninth streets and 14th Street would be paved from Denver Avenue to Interstate 85. He said those projects are slated to be complete by end of summer.

“It’s going to be tough with all that truck traffic,” he said. “It’s going to be an inconvenience to people, but when it’s all said and done it will be worth it.”

Because CCC has worked out so well previously, Carani suggested at the town hall meeting May 28 adding handicap ramp projects slated for Rollie Avenue onto CCC’s current contract. He said CCC has offered to install the approximately 16 ADA-approved handicap ramps at $1,800 per ramp, and said at that cost the project would come in well under the $75,000 budgeted.

At the June 2 city council meeting, Carani said he would bring the $75,000 project back to the next city council meeting in mid-June after he had time to “get a more fine number, so we know what we’re going to spend (on Rollie Avenue) and what’s left.” Meanwhile, council members unanimously approved the $100,000 street paving request and agreed to Carani’s request to keep the remaining $12,000-plus for an allowance toward another potential city project.

Despite the city’s savings, Carani — along with Mayor Tommy Holton, City Administrator Claud Hanes, Planning Director Todd Hodges and others — wondered if it might be time to have a sit-down with local oil and gas companies responsible for a majority of wear to city streets and roadways.

“The trucks are just tearing (14th Street) apart,” Carani said, who added that 14th Street wasn’t slated to be paved until 2015 but was bumped ahead due to its condition. “Asphalt won’t even last. We’re throwing a lot of money away on patch on 14th because we’re out there all the time.”

Carani added that the city would only be repairing the streets themselves, not the “spurs” — the short roads or rail lines — that branch off the main streets.

“Those are private spurs,” he said, adding that the majority of those branch roads are owned by three primary companies including A&W Water, BMC Building Materials and Construction Services and Gray Oil. “To me, they could all (be asked to contribute to repairs).”

Carani and Hanes both pondered whether Fort Lupton could reach an agreement with those companies similar to one reached in Parachute, where they said Encana Oil and Gas USA Inc. paid for road repair and even a street sweeper for continued road maintenance.

“The money’s there, and we can get it, but we might need to be a little pushy with them,” Carani said. 

“If we don’t ask for it, we’re going to get nothing,” he added. “But if we sit down with them, I think we can reach an agreement.”

Holton added that gravel companies along that stretch — companies primarily servicing well pad construction — should also be included in that potential, future discussion.


Fire code changes proposed

Fort Lupton Fire Protection District Chief Phil Tiffany and city planning technician Mari Peña on May 28 presented city officials with proposed changes to both fire and city building codes that they said would bring the city from up to more standard codes recognized statewide.

Those code changes, which could go into effect by September, will bring the city’s building and fire codes from 2003 requirements up to 2012 standards.

As for the fire codes, Tiffany called the changes “fairly limited” and said he expects the changes to be implemented “rather seamlessly.”

In terms of changes to the city’s building codes, Peña said those code changes would only impact new construction, not those projects started prior to when the new code is implemented.

Hodges said the changes to the city’s building code would fairly innocuous since contractors generally adhere to new code practices internally, anyhow.

“It’s actually better for new builders who would probably charge more if they had to go by old codes,” he said.

Before implementation, those code changes must be advertised to the public and go before the city, county and other entities. The new codes will be further discussed at a public meeting July 7 before going before the council for approval.


Contact Staff Writer jeremy Johnson by calling 303-659-2522, ext. 217, or reach him via email at jjohnson@metrowestnewspapers.com.