City Council Meeting - FINAL

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Meeting Date: 07/06/2021  

Consideration and Approval of Cooperative Purchase Contract:  Arizona Department of Transportation Milton Road Underpass/BNSF Railway Bridge Replacement Concept Analysis Phase II - Award of Design Phase Services Cooperative Purchase Contract to WSP USA, Inc., for a feasibility study, in an amount not to exceed $149,614.00, under a City of Tucson cooperative purchasing agreement (#181820-01). 
  1. Award the Design Phase Services Cooperative Purchase Contract to WSP USA, Inc. (WSP), for a feasibility study, in an amount not to exceed $149,614.00, with a 270 calendar-day contract period; and 
  2. Authorize the City Manager to execute the necessary documents.
Executive Summary:
  • The recommended award of the Design Phase Services Cooperative Purchase Contract to WSP will authorize an agreement for investigation of the Milton Underpass/BNSF bridge reconstruction feasibility. 
  • An additional rail track is a BNSF Railway (BNSF) mitigation requirement for the Rio de Flag Flood Control Project and due to the proximity of the underpass, the new track will require a new or additional bridge structure. 
  • WSP will investigate the bridge reconstruction feasibility with this contract.   
  • WSP has been procured under the active City of Tucson Cooperative Purchasing Agreement (contract: 181820-01). The City of Flagstaff is eligible to participate in the use of this contract.  
  • WSP is currently working on Phase I of this analysis, which is due to be completed in August 2021.
Financial Impact:
The Cooperative Purchase Contract will be funded by the Rio de Flag Flood Control Stormwater Capital Improvements FY 2021-2022 account budget of $2,354,208. Account (206-08-385-3454-0).
Policy Impact:
No Impact.
Connection to PBB Key Community Priorities/Objectives & Regional Plan:
Council Goal 2017 – 2019 Transportation and Other Public Infrastructure - Deliver quality community assets and continue to advocate and implement a highly performing multi-modal transportation system.
Council Goal 2017 - 2019 Environmental and Natural Resources - Actively manage and protect all environmental and natural resources.
Regional Plan - Policy WR5 - Manage watersheds and stormwater to address flooding concerns, water quality, environmental protections, and rainwater harvesting.
Team Flagstaff Strategic Plan - Foster a Resilient and Economically Prosperous City: Deliver outstanding services through a healthy environment, resources and infrastructure.
Has There Been Previous Council Decision on This:
The Rio de Flag Flood Control Project has been presented to City Council for various actions and decisions over the course of the project, including the City of Flagstaff/US Army Corps of Engineers Project Cooperation Agreement (PCA), engineering consultant services agreements, approval of fiscal year budgets, and Project updates. There has not been any past Council decision on reconstruction of the Milton Underpass/BNSF Bridge.
Options and Alternatives:
1. Approve the Cooperative Purchase Contract to WSP in an amount not to exceed $149,614.00, as recommended, under the City of Tucson cooperative purchasing agreement (#181820-01). Approval will allow WSP to investigate feasibility of the bridge reconstruction; or
2. Reject the award and provide additional direction to staff.
The Rio de Flag Flood Control Project has been under development as a cooperative project between the City of Flagstaff and the US Army Corps of Engineers since the early 2000s. The goal of the project is to remove the 100-year floodplain from the center of town, which will reduce flooding impacts in our community and improve citizen's quality of life and safety. The project has undergone extensive design, value engineering, and reporting efforts. Several of the project components have been constructed and are complete, including the Clay Wash Detention Basin, the Thorpe Bridge, and the Butler Tunnel.

The project design is currently going through review with BNSF for project approval and to develop the Construction and Maintenance Agreement. BNSF has provided the City with a list of requirements to mitigate operational impacts to their service during construction. One of the main requirements is a passing siding track to keep rail capacity at its current levels and to provide an alternate track while work is occurring on the existing alignment. Due to the proximity of the Rio project to the bridge, this will require an additional bridge or reconstructed bridge over Milton Road.

Purchasing staff reviewed the cooperative purchase agreement from Tucson to confirm validity of the terms and similar scope. The use of this cooperative purchase agreement conforms with City procurement rules. Purchasing staff worked with WSP to develop the City of Flagstaff Cooperative Purchase Contract.
Key Considerations:
The City of Flagstaff and the US Army Corps of Engineers executed the joint Project Cooperation Agreement (PCA) in 2004 for the Rio de Flag Flood Control Project. One of the primary responsibilities of the PCA is that the City must provide a construction corridor to the Army Corps' contractor and that includes areas of private BNSF property. 

In order for BNSF to approve the use of their land, they require certain design standards for the project, maintenance commitments, compensation for property, and mitigations to operational impacts. BNSF has reviewed the draft 100% plans and has provided their draft mitigation measures, which include stand-by equipment during construction, implementation of a community rail safety plan, compensation for real estate, Amtrak passenger accommodations during construction, and 6.5 miles of passing siding. 

Due to the location of the Rio project in proximity to the Milton Bridge, the existing two-track bridge will need to be reconstructed to accommodate the third rail line for the passing siding. This passing siding is also critical in BNSF’s approval to deliver our other local projects in this area, including the Florence to Walnut Pedestrian Underpass in the La Plaza Vieja neighborhood, the pedestrian tunnel designed to be connected to the Rio floodway undercrossing of the tracks, and the Lone Tree Overpass. 

In 2020, BNSF presented a concept for a new bridge located to the south of the existing Milton Bridge. This location was unfavorable to the City due to private property impacts and that it could not accommodate the critical bike/pedestrian underpasses.  The team is now looking at a bridge structure to the north of the existing Milton Bridge. This location has less impact to local private property owners and provides a construction solution to the two bike/pedestrian rail underpasses we have had planned for the community.  
The City executed a contract with WSP in April 2021 to develop Phase I of the north bridge concept, which includes basic elevation of the rail, roadway, and the bridge height clearance requirements. The bridge height is currently at 13' 9", which is under the State's required standard of 16' 6". The new Rio de Flag ADOT bridge currently under construction is being regarded as a set point to avoid reconstruction of that new facility. Upon determination of feasibility of the general grade alignments, Phase II will further refine the design to include intersection tie-ins, utility relocations, BNSF phasing concepts for construction, and preliminary cost estimates. Although Phase I is not complete, work to date indicates that there is a path forward to continue investigation for a feasible design. 

The cost of delivering local projects and funding the BNSF mitigation requirements exceeds the City’s financial capacity. The City has entered into a group effort including Metro Plan, Mountain Line, BNSF Railway, and the County to seek a RAISE planning grant to fund the preliminary planning, NEPA requirements, and cost estimating for the overall BNSF mitigation measures. This planning grant will provide the necessary application documents for a future full design and construction grant.
Expanded Financial Considerations:
The Cooperative Purchase Contract will be funded by the Rio de Flag Flood Control Project Stormwater Capital Improvement account budget of $2,354,208 for FY 2021-2022. Account #206-08-385-3454-0.This account is being funded by Stormwater fees for Stormwater Capital projects.
Community Benefits and Considerations:

This effort will identify solutions to satisfying BNSF mitigation measure requirements so that local projects can be delivered. As described above, our local projects provide flood mitigation, additional protected pedestrian and bicycle pathways, and an overpass for the community that spans the BNSF corridor and the future Rio de Flag channel which will enhance traffic circulation.

Community Involvement:
The Rio de Flag Flood Control Project has been included as a major element of the City’s Capital program and budget since 2004.  The project has also been presented through numerous Council Work Sessions, Council contract awards, Friends of the Rio meetings, Project Public Meetings, Cityscape articles, and Arizona Daily Sun articles.

The City has established a Rio de Flag webpage on the City of Flagstaff site that covers project design, updates, and exhibits to inform the public on the scope and goals of the project.
Expanded Options and Alternatives:
1. Approve the Cooperative Purchasing Contract to WSP, in an amount not to exceed $149,614.00, as recommended. Approval will allow WSP to investigate feasibility of the bridge reconstruction; or
2. Reject the award and provide additional direction to staff.
Context Map
Vicinity Map
Contract - Exhibit A
Contract - Exhibit B


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