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City hopes to repair more than three miles of streets in 2011

About 350 homes are likely to get a front porch view of Hastings road construction next summer.

The city's engineering department is proposing to resurface four groups of residential roads. The biggest stretch is on 14th Street between Pine and Pleasant streets. The proposal also includes Prairie and Hillside streets between 14th and 15th streets, Hillside Court, View Court, Sun Valley Lane, Honeysuckle Lane, Honeysuckle Court, Blueberry Lane, Blueberry Court, Rosemary Court, 12th Street from Westview Drive to McAuliffe School, Bailey Street from 15th to 17th Street, McNamara Street from Bailey to 17th streets, 15th Street from Tyler to Bailey streets, 17th Street from Sumner to Ramsey streets, Sumner Street from 17th to 18th streets, Florence Street, 16th Street from Florence Street to Highway 61, 11th Street from Walgreens to Tyler Street, Whispering Lane between Pleasant Drive and Fourth Street and Whispering Court.

If the list seems extensive, it's because it is.

"What we're proposing is actually quite large for us," public works director Tom Montgomery told the city council Sept. 7.

A typical road construction year involves a mile and a half to two miles of roads, including curb and gutter work as well as utilities. This project is proposing a little more than three miles, without curb and gutter work and very little utility work.

The city's finance department has targeted about $3 million in bonds for street improvement projects in 2011. Under normal conditions, that wouldn't be enough to cover the amount of work engineers are proposing.

"We expect our estimates to come in higher than our $3 million bond budget," Montgomery told the council.

But even though the initial estimate is likely to be high, the competitive construction market means contractors are submitting the lowest bids they can. Depending on how low the bids are, the city might be able to get all the proposed streets resurfaced.

"We may be able to do more than we originally thought," Montgomery said in a later interview.

That's exactly what happened this year. Work on 15th Street was bid as an alternate project - to be held until 2011 if bids weren't low enough to include it.

The streets proposed are divided into four groups according to priority. The Prairie Street neighborhood is at the top of the list, followed by Whispering Lane and Whispering court in the second area, 15th to 17th streets in the third area, and 11th Street in the fourth.

The city won't be able to say just how many of those streets will get done until the bids come in next April.