Casper City Council on Tuesday approved a $2.5 million contract to reconstruct Midwest Avenue from South Elm to South David streets.

"With council's favorable approval, we would get started later this season and we would anticipate a completion date in September 2019," City Manager Carter Napier said before council's discussion.

The project will be directly north of the proposed Wyoming State office building campus between Midwest Avenue and Collins Drive.

During the council's discussion, Dallas Laird said he thought the reconstruction project would be put on hold because of the work involved in the office building's construction.

Napier said he didn't intend to give that impression.

"We will be getting critical infrastructure redeveloped that would better accommodate the utility needs of that campus, without which we would be in a very difficult position to provide the utility service necessary to accommodate the building," he said. "And so, in my opinion, this particular phase is critical because it leads up to the (state building plans) because of the utilities necessary to accommodate those buildings."

The city received six competitive bids, with Treto Construction submitting the low bid of $2.5 million, which is $200,000 less than the engineer's estimate, Napier said. The other bids ranged from $3.2 million to nearly $3.4 million, according to the agenda for the council's meeting.

The council approved a $238,300 contingency fee, bringing the total to about $2.7 million.

Council member Charlie Powell said the council has been talking about reconstructing Midwest Avenue since 2013. "It's long overdue and I'm very excited to see us move forward on this project."

The reconstruction would include the pavement itself, a traffic signal at David and Midwest, lighting fixtures, landscaping, replacing the storm sewer system, fire hydrants, bike racks, and sculptures.

Funding for the project comes from Optional One-Cent Sales Tax No. 14 revenues to the "project, water and sewer funds, and pathway improvement funds"; and Optional One-Cen Sales Tax No. 15 revenues to the "Misc. Arterials & Collectors funds," according to the agenda.

Upon completion of this two-block section, Napier said the city will look to obtaining funds for the reconstruction Midwest from Elm Street to Poplar Street.

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