City Council Meeting - FINAL

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Meeting Date: 01/04/2022  

Consideration and Approval of BNSF Railway Preliminary Engineering Agreement:  Lone Tree Overpass Project Construction Document Review. 
  1. Approve the Lone Tree Overpass Project (Project) Preliminary Engineering Agreement (Agreement) with BNSF Railway (BNSF) in the amount of $78,601; and
  2. Authorize the City Manager to execute the necessary documents.
Executive Summary:
  • The Project will require vertical and horizontal realignment of the rail corridor in order to construct the proposed bridge structure with adequate clearance over the rail.  
  • The recommended approval of the Agreement with BNSF will authorize reimbursement for BNSF's contracted engineering services to review the project construction documents.
Financial Impact:
The Agreement will be funded by the Lone Tree Overpass Project Capital Improvements FY22 budget of $8,686,681 (Account No. 047-10-112-3054-6-4421).
Policy Impact:
No Impact.
Connection to PBB Priorities/Objectives, Carbon Neutrality Plan & Regional Plan:

Safe and Healthy Community -
  • Foster a safe, secure, and healthy community.
  • Ensure the built environment is safe through the use of consistent standards, rules and regulations, and land use practices.
Inclusive and Engaged Community -
  • Advance social equity and social justice in Flagstaff. 
Sustainable, Innovative Infrastructure -
  • Deliver outstanding services to residents through a healthy, well maintained infrastructure system.
  • Utilize existing long-range plans that identify the community's future infrastructure needs and all associated costs.
  • Identify smart traffic management, multi modal transportation, and alternative energy opportunities.
Environmental Stewardship -
  • Implement sustainable building practices and alternative energy and transportation options.
  • Implement, maintain and further the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.
Regional Plan – Goal T.2.  -
  • Improve transportation safety and efficiency for all modes.
Has There Been Previous Council Decision on This:
A previous City Council reviewed options for the Lone Tree Overpass bond proposition and directed staff to prepare ballot language for a bond to be funded through secondary property tax in the 2018 election, which was passed by the Flagstaff voters.

On February 2, 2021, the City Council awarded the first design phase agreement to Ames Construction.

On September 7, 2021, the City Council awarded Amendment 1 to the original design phase agreement.
Options and Alternatives:
1. Approve the Agreement as recommended. Approval will allow project coordination with BNSF to proceed; or
2. Reject the approval and provide additional direction to staff. This option would delay project design completion.  
The Lone Tree Overpass has been a planned project for over a decade in the Flagstaff community. The Lone Tree Overpass Study, which evaluated conceptual design options for the bridge was completed in 2010. The goal of the Project is to provide congestion relief, connectivity for the City's transportation network, and a grade-separated crossing over the BNSF Railway corridor and the future Rio de Flag channel, which increases safety and convenience for multi-modal commuters. 

The overpass also coordinates with the future planned improvements of the Lone Tree Corridor reconstruction which was studied in a report completed in 2006. The Lone Tree Corridor and Overpass serves to connect the southern area of town with the Route 66 corridor and provides an option that reduces congestion on other roadway corridors.  

A portion of the Lone Tree Corridor from Sawmill Road to Butler Avenue is included in this Overpass design. This section of the corridor was included at this time to provide a coordinated improvement north and south of the Butler Avenue Intersection.

In November 2018, the voters were asked to approve a ballot measure to fund the overpass (Proposition 420) and a separate ballot measure to fund the corridor improvements (Proposition 419). Both propositions passed.

In the fall of 2020, Ames was selected by a six-member evaluation committee as the most qualified Design-Build service provider for the Project pursuant to the evaluation and ranking process per A.R.S. sec. 34-603.

On February 2, 2021, Council awarded the first design phase services agreement with Ames, and on September 7, 2021, Amendment 1 was approved.
Key Considerations:
A critical item of the design is to include a bridge over the realigned rail corridor, which must be lowered and moved south in order to provide bridge clearance and to match into a new intersection with Route 66. BNSF requires the City to cover their consultant's review fees for our project.
Expanded Financial Considerations:
The Agreement will be funded by the Lone Tree Overpass Project Capital Improvements FY22 budget of $8,686,681 (Account No. 047-10-112-3054-6-4421).

Community Benefits and Considerations:
This project provides many benefits to the community, including: 
  • The Lone Tree Overpass will provide a new roadway corridor and bridge over the BNSF Railway and the future Rio de Flag Flood Control Project, providing connectivity between Butler Avenue and Route 66 in central Flagstaff.
  • Multi-modal transportation and alternative intersection design will be included in this Project to enhance all modes of transportation.
  • This Project will be designed with consideration of goals from the City's Carbon Neutrality Plan and the Southside Neighborhood Plan. 
  • Due to proximity to the Rio de Flag Project area, this project will contribute to the overall BNSF rail mitigation requirements and help expedite our planned local projects, including the Rio de Flag.  
Community Involvement:
There was extensive public coordination with the development of both the Overpass concept study and the Corridor Study in the early 2000's. There was also outreach performed for Proposition 419 and 420. Since design of the project began, there have been one-on-one and group meetings, a full community virtual public meeting, City commission and committee meetings, and public Council presentations. 
Expanded Options and Alternatives:
1. Approve the Agreement as recommended. Approval will allow BNSF to proceed with plan review and project coordination; or
2. Reject the Agreement and provide additional direction to staff. This option would delay the completion of the Lone Tree Overpass Project construction documents. 
Lone Tree Overpass Context Map
Lone Tree Overpass Vicinity Map
BNSF consultant contract
BNSF Preliminary Engineering Agreement


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