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Federal Grant May Fund Most of Hanna Road Project

Monday night, the Manchester Board of Aldermen voted to apply for a federal grant that could cover 80 percent of the estimated $3.6 million road improvement project.

Engineer Brian Kulick of Juneau Engineers, the company hired by the City of Manchester to prepare paperwork to acquire funding for the Hanna Road Project, received approval Monday night to apply for federal grant money by aldermen.

Kulick told the board of alderman the East-West Gateway Council is soliciting grant applications for surface transportation projects. Kulick said the city's Hanna Road improvement project would meet the initial criteria for funding.

The Hanna Road project would include 1.8 miles from Manchester Road to Big Bend Road.  

Kulick said the three main safety updates to the road would include a norhtbound right turn lane at Manchester Road, the installation of traffic signals at and installing a crosswalk at that would run across Hanna Road. Kulick also suggested sidewalks on both sides of Hanna Road, at least near both schools.

The Hanna Road Project is estimated to cost $3.6 million. Kulick said the grant would be an 80/20 match with federal funds covering 80 percent and the city being responsible for 20 percent, which comes to a total of $720,000 for city.

He also suggested breaking the project into three phases, saying three smaller projects would be easier to complete and it would help with the grant funding. 

The board would know if the city was awarded the funds by early June, but 2016 is the earliest funding would be available for that project, according to Kulick.

Monday night, Kulick asked the board to submit a request for the grant for the first phase of funding. There is an application fee of one-half of one percent of the requested federal funding which comes to $1,800. That application fee is fully refundable if the grant is not approved.

"Once the first phase gets funded, East-West Gateway usually looks favorably upon future requests because they want they the projects complete," Kulick explained.

Kulick said crews would compete the majority of construction during the summer in an effort to not create traffic issues.

The mayor and board members said they would request the middle section of Hanna Road actually be worked on first, since that is where there are the most traffic issues. City Administrator Ed Blattner recommended that middle portion as the first phase crews work on, then the proposed lights at the schools, then the sidewalks.

The board voted and approved a motion to allow Kulick to prepare a grant request for the funding.

OTHER BUSINESS - CITY BONDS

The Manchester Board of Aldermen also voted to allow the sale of general obligation bonds. The refunding of the approximately $3.7 million in general obligation bonds is an effort to save $420,000 in interest. When the issue was first brought before the board, the savings were estimated at $390,000, but due to current market conditions the sale will offer the city $420,000 in savings.

The bonds are expected to be sold Wednesday.

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