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Street projects will begin soon

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has awarded bids totalling $825,186 for street work in Paris.

The bids were awarded on Tuesday, April 22 and work is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting, according to a news release.

The largest bid awarded was $482,251.14 to Blackstone Construction, LLC of Russellville to resurface two miles of Walnut Street (Highway 22) west from Kalamazoo Road to Short Mountain Creek. The project is scheduled for completion by early this summer.

The second bid of $342,935.70 was awarded to Fosgren, Inc., of Fort Smith, to resurface two miles of streets in Paris.

Streets to be resurfaced under this contract are one mile of Fifth Street from East Maple to Arnette Street, one-half mile of East Maple from South Elm to 10th Street, and one-half mile of East Pine Street from South Elm to 10th Street.

Those projects should be completed by the summer, according to the news release.

This project is being funded through the State Aid City Streets Program, which was approved by lawmakers in 2011 and voters in 2012, with passage of a half-cent sales tax hike.

This program provides $20 million annually from state motor fuels taxes to assist cities with projects selected by a nine-member panel of Arkansas mayors.

Grants under the State Aid to City Streets program is capped at $250,000. Paris applied for the grant last summer and was awarded that much money earlier this year.

“The city will have to pay the difference on this project and that amounts to $92,935,” Paris Mayor Daniel Rogers said. “We have $100,000 in the budget for street work, but I’m also wanting to do a widening project on East Pine Street. So, I’m going to ask the City Council to move some money around at the Monday meeting.”

The City Council will meet Monday, May 5 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Rogers said the funds could come from increased water sales that weren’t anticipated and from money budgeted for debt service, which won’t be required this year.

Plans are to widen East Pine Street by two inches from Fifth Street to 10th Street.

Rogers has said he wants to complete that work before the AHTD project begins.

“To widen the street, we’re going to cover some ditches and that’ll help with drainage problems,” Rogers said.

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