MOUNT VERNON — After years of being a good idea, the extension of Yellow Jacket Drive to Cougar Drive might be a step closer to reality. A water line project, combined with the redesign of Cougar Drive in conjunction with the Mount Vernon Avenue bridge replacement project, might be the impetus needed to make it happen.
“This project we're talking about becomes a two-step process. We need to run a 12-inch water line parallel to the future Yellow Jacket Drive to improve water supply and fire protection to the school complex,” explained Brian Ball, city engineer. “That needs to happen before we start our bridge project next year.”
It makes sense to extend Yellow Jacket Drive at the same time, if equipment, labor, and material costs can be covered. Efforts are underway to have the labor and equipment donated as a training opportunity for road workers, and fundraising efforts are underway through Mount Vernon City Schools to secure money to cover material costs.
“If the school can find a way to get that project constructed with the idea of using the road construction as a training exercise, that's really what we're trying for,” said Ball. “We're going to start the design (process), and they may be able to help because we don't have the money to build the road. It's been in the master plan and in the county plan, but it's really hard to get grant money for new construction. It's a lot easier for ODOT and other folks to give us money to redo an existing thing.”
A resolution for first reading on Monday's city council agenda authorizes the city to enter into a contract for design services for the water line project. Design costs are not known at this time. Ball said he would like to have representatives attend the resolution's second reading in July and lay out potential paths to the road construction.
“If they can't get the money, we would only ask our consultant to design for the water line,” he said.
Ball said the goal is to finish the water line by Dec. 31, or at least have it ready to go to construction by then.
“We may end up building it next year,” he said. “It's one of the things we need to get done ahead of ODOT, before the bridge project.”