The Ridgecrest City Council on Dec. 19 approved a construction contract to pave the dirt road on South Sunland Street. Council voted unanimously to award a construction contract to Griffith Construction Company for $703,354 to pave the dirt portion on South Sunland Street between East Bowman Road and East Dolphin Avenue.

Council approved the use of $55,000 from Measure V funding toward the project. Mayor Pro Tem Lindsey Stephens at first questioned the use of the Measure V funds, but ultimately voted to approve the contract.

Funding for the project will come from several sources. The construction portion of the project will be funded by a Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) grant for $676,119, according to Public Works Director Bard Lower.

Lower said the city has already allocated $148,000 in TAB funding that will cover the city’s portion of the preliminary engineering and will cover most of the city’s portion of construction contingency and construction management. He said the city will need the additional $55,000 to cover its portion of the additive bid plus a few shortfalls created by the difference between the original estimates and the final bid.

The project was put out to bid more than once, Lower said. Three bids were received and opened on Dec. 4. Griffith Construction Company was the low bid.

Griffith’s total bid includes a base bid of $627,161 plus an alternative additive bid of $76,193 for high tensile fiber asphalt and fiberglass reinforcement in the interlayer to improve quality, stability and longevity of the asphalt.

Lower said the additive factors will increase the life of the pavement before it needs a preventative maintenance treatment such as a slurry seal.

In response to a question from Stephens, Lower explained that a construction project on Dolphin Street also is also making use of CMAQ funds.

“We have already approved the preliminary engineering and environmental and construction management for this project?” Stephens asked.

“Yes,” Lower said.

Vice Mayor Wallace Martin spoke up in favor of the Sunland project.

“Without getting into a technical 30 minute slide show in my opinion, the road needs to be done,” he said. “I think we need to do it and approve it.”

Stephens said her concern is using Measure V funds for new construction.

“That is just something that kind of bothers me a little bit,” she said. “I like to see Measure V [used] for roads that are already in place that we are fixing.”

Stephens asked if there are any unimproved road impact fees or anything else that could be used for the funding instead of Measure V.

Lower said no, only funding for substandard roads which is a very specific, limited definition.

“It is a piece of road that is simply dirt. We need to deal with it,” Mayor Peggy Breeden said. “The best way to deal with it is do it. We already have money, we already have some grant money. Most of it is grant money. All we have to do is put up $55,000.”

There was no public comment.