New rides

The Roanoke Police Department's fleet of new police vehicles has arrived, and they could be on the streets as soon as next week.

The City of Roanoke agreed to purchase the 12 Dodge Durangos in March at a price tag of just under $400,000. The SUV's were delivered to Roanoke last week but cannot begin their patrol duties until they have been outfitted with the proper decals and hardware.

Police Chief Adam Melton, speaking at Monday's Roanoke City Council meeting, said that the process of applying all of the identifying police decals and fully equipping the interior of the vehicles should be complete within 7-10 days, which could have the new cruisers on the roads of Roanoke by this time next week.

LaFayette Highway update

The City of Roanoke opened the bids on June 27 for the potential LaFayette Highway paving project that has been in the works for several months. The city received two bids, with the lower of the two coming in at $425,549.20 from Gary Ingram Grading and Paving out of Dadeville.

Thomas Harmon of Harmon Engineering addressed the Roanoke City Council at Monday's meeting to elaborate on the next steps in the process and the additional expenses that will be required on top of the bid amount.

Harmon Engineering designed the paving project and has been hired by the city to oversee the work once it begins. That oversight includes insuring that the contractor follows Harmon's designs "to be sure that the project goes the way it's supposed to go," according to Thomas Harmon.

That oversight will come in the form of routine inspections of the project as it is carried out, and the fee is 4 percent of the contractor's bid amount, which would come to approximately $17,000.

Harmon also will receive a fee for overseeing the testing of the new pavement as it is laid down to insure that it meets standards set forth by the Alabama Department of Transportation. The fee for that testing will be an estimated $6,000, according to Harmon.

The council did not vote on whether to approve the bid from Gary Ingram, instead tabling the issue and instructing city clerk Pat Truitt to solicit funds from lending institutions in order to finance the project.

The city has until August 31 to approve the bid before it expires. A vote on that could come as soon as the next council meeting, which is scheduled for July 22.

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