Friday, November 22, 2013

Negotiations begin for design of transportation hub

Local engineering firms receive tentative nod to plan the project


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

A Mountain Rides Transportation Authority bus pulls away from a bus stop near the Sun Valley Visitor Center, which is part of the proposed location for a Ketchum Transportation Hub. Photo by Roland Lane

   The Mountain Rides Transportation Authority board of directors voted unanimously on Wednesday to begin negotiations for design and engineering of a proposed Ketchum Transportation Hub, which would be built on both sides of the intersection of Sun Valley Road and East Avenue.
    Although no contract is yet in place, Eggers Associates, a Ketchum landscape architectural firm, has been tentatively approved to head a team for design and engineering of the project. On the team are Community Rising/Living Architecture, both founded by Ketchum resident Dale Bates, Galena Engineering, a Ketchum civil engineering firm, and Hale Engineering, a Utah-based firm that specializes in transit projects.
    Eggers Associates owner Kurt Eggers, who would serve as project manager, told the Mountain Rides board that the team will bring an “interdisciplinary” approach to the project and that the team is “honored to be considered for the design work.”
    Eggers Associates was one of two organizations that responded to a “request for qualifications” issued in September. The other applicant, Design Workshop, with several offices throughout the western United States, scored lower in a Mountain Rides’ ranking system that considered experience and understanding of the project.
    The Eggers Associates team was chosen as the top applicant by a selection committee comprising Mountain Rides Executive Director Jason Miller, Ketchum Director of Economic and Community Development Lisa Horowitz and Mountain Rides board members Peter Everett and Dave Patrie.
    Prior to the vote at Wednesday’s meeting, some board members said they needed clarification on what they were voting on, since the wording on a written request from Miller stated that he wanted the board to “approve Eggers Associates as the winning respondent” to the request for proposals so that negotiations could begin on a “full contract, scope of work and fee.”
    “It’s still awkward, trying to approve something that has not been flushed out,” said board member Nils Ribi.
    Mountain Rides Business Manager Wendy Crosby clarified the situation.
    “The purpose is to approve negotiation,” Crosby said. “All the prices, contracts and terms will be brought back before the board.”
    The city of Ketchum, which is partnering with Mountain Rides on the transportation hub, will also be involved in negotiations with Eggers Associates and the Ketchum City Council needs to approve a final contract.
    Crosby said the estimated cost for design and engineering is about $90,000.
    Mountain Rides anticipates that plans will be completed in April and that construction will start in June.
    A conceptual design of the transportation hub provides for parking for up to five buses, sidewalk extensions at all four corners of the intersection to facilitate pedestrian traffic and islands in the middle of East Avenue on both sides of the intersection for bike parking or public art.
    The hub will provide a transfer point for the six Mountain Rides bus routes that operate throughout the Ketchum and Sun Valley area. The Blue No. 1 and Green routes operate year-around, while the Blue No. 2, Red, Silver and Bronze routes are seasonal. Under the current plan, the hub would not serve as a transfer point to connect passengers to the Valley Route, which operates between Bellevue and Hailey north to Ketchum and Sun Valley.
    The budget for building the hub is $437,000, with $312,000 coming from Federal Transportation Authority grants, $100,000 from the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency and $25,000 from the Mountain Rides capital fund.
Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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