Menifee City Council increases additional funds needed for Newport Widening Project

Menifee City Council approved to increase the budget for the Newport Road Widening Project Tuesday, June 25, during a public hearing.

The council approved to increase the budget for the Newport Road Widening Project account in the city’s Measure “A” fund by $347,357.

The total estimated project cost is $3.6 million and includes the construction contract, the professional services, and the design items. The 2013-2014 fiscal year budget previously approved $3 million, an additional fund of $650,000 is required for the project, according to Crystal Nguyen, manager of the project.

The widening of Newport Road is one of the major projects for the city, identified for the Capital Improvement Program previously approved by the council.

Construction on Newport Road, from Antelope to Menifee Roads, is expected to start Aug. 5.

Nguyen updated the council on the status of the project; Nguyen first presented the council with the Newport Widening Plan on June 4.

Currently, the road is a four-way roadway; however, everything to the east of Menifee is a six-lane roadway. To the west of Antelope, the proposed Interstate 215 will improve it into six lanes. This project will add another lane in each direction to make it a consistent six lanes.

An additional left-turn lane will also be added, which will make a double left-turn lane, from Newport to Antelope to help with traffic flow. A traffic signal will also be added to help with safety on Newport at Westlink Drive and Via Corazon.

Some of the final steps in getting the project started included getting approval from the council to award the construction contract the lowest bidder for the project, which was awarded to Griffith Company for $2.9 million. This was determined to be the lowest responsible bidder.

Although the contractor is a reliable company, it’s important that city obtains professional construction services to make sure that the final product meets the city’s standards and plans, said Nguyen.

It’s even more important that they monitor and enforce safety, said Nguyen, while limiting disruption to traffic flow and residence nearby.

The city staff also found Dudek to have the most experience working in a road widening project for construction management. Although there were three firms the staff interviewed, Dudek was found to be ranked the highest.

This project benefits locally as well as regionally. Those in neighboring cities will have better access to the 215 freeway, which is why the council is pursuing the Regional Council Board for reimbursement for the full or partial cost of the $3.6 million.

“This traffic, this mishmash, just has been the biggest headache and frustration in our city,” said Deputy Mayor Wallace Edgerton, as he thanked his staff for coming up with a solution to the problem. “I wish the public could appreciate the horrendous effort it is to put something so complicated like this together.”

He also said while the council is appreciative, in time the community is going to be giving the staff the same appreciation.

Menifee Mayor Scott Mann said this first project is a milestone for the city.

“It’s a pretty exciting night for us,” said City Manager Robert Johnson to the council. “We’re well ahead of schedule.”

This project has been in the works for many years, he said.

“When I joined the city [council] in Sept. 2009, we knew the need for this project,” Johnson continued to say.

City staff will return in a couple months to the council to request an award for the design and construction only for the landscape portion for the median on Newport Road.

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