Reconstruction of heavily traveled East 10th Street with a fresh layer of red paving bricks will start in a few weeks and be done in 32 working days.

To not interfere with activities at the busy Downtown Pavilion on 10th, the city of Hays reached an agreement with its contractor, Morgan Brothers Construction, Hays, to get the work done as quickly as possible. The idea is to have the street ready for the Pavilion’s busy spring and summer seasons, as well as hold Morgan Brothers to a firm deadline.

“Morgan Brothers has assured us that they will provide the best product in the fastest time frame possible,” said city Project Manager John Braun, speaking Thursday evening to the Hays City Commission during its regular meeting at City Hall.

“With the concurrence of the city attorney, an addendum to the contract documents has been added and agreed to and signed by Morgan Borthers that allows no more than 32 working days for this project to be constructed,” Braun said.

“We also discussed with the Downtown Hays folks and the contractor and other stakeholders that getting on this project as soon as possible is the best scenario for everyone,” Braun said, “and getting it done before the Farmers Market season starts up and some of the summer uses of the Pavilion area.”

The $109,455 project on 10th for one block from Main to Oak streets calls for taking out the existing red pavers, rebuilding the lumpy street bed, and laying back in red pavers from the city’s stockpile of historic bricks, along with concrete curbing, valley gutter and sidewalk.

Mellick at the city commission’s work session Feb. 20 expressed concern about Morgan getting the work done in a timely manner. He cited Morgan’s larger $3.5 million contract on Elm by Fort Hays State University in the 2019 street program, saying the street was torn up, then work came to a near standstill, before it was finally completed in the nick of time.

“We’ll have weather days which could figure into that,” Mellick said to Braun regarding the 32-day limit. “Do we decide what we consider weather days or does the contractor decide that?”

“We decide,” Braun said, noting that city inspector Curtis Weber, under his direction, will determine whether the contractor is able to work.

“Once the contract time has expired they will be charged with relevant damages for any days going over that contract time,” he said.

A commercial street with The Furniture Look, 1000 Main, on the north and the Pavilion on the south, 10th Street east of Main is in the Historic Chestnut Street District and is included in Hays’ brick street policy, which preserves the look of the city’s original clay-fired brick streets.

Commissioner Ron Mellick asked Braun if the block would go back to original red pavers.

“There will be a four-foot wide strip of valley gutter that runs down the south side of it,” Braun said, “but there will be more brick than there is right now.”

Many of the street’s existing concrete patches will go back in with pavers, he said.

“There’s not a lot of salvageable brick down there,” Braun said. “So before they tear anything up down there, we’re going to make sure they’ve got enough brick, cleaned and ready to go, sorted and stacked so they’re not sitting there trying to figure out which brick they’re going to use.”

“This brick will be old-time brick that we’ve taken off of other places?” Mellick asked.

“Yes,” Braun said.

The street will be closed to vehicles during reconstruction, but open to pedestrians, he said.

City commissioner Sandy Jacobs made note of a list of activities in downtown Hays that could be impacted by the reconstruction.

“Between April 3 and Dec. 12, there’s 61 events, and that’s only those that are already scheduled. There will be more added throughout the year,” Jacobs said. “And most of those are happening in the Pavilion.”

Morgan Brothers is currently doing sidewalk work for the Parks Department, Braun said, and will mobilize its materials and start work as soon as that’s done, probably in two to three weeks.

“No matter where we do construction of streets, it’s going to interrupt something, it’s going to bother somebody,” said Hays Mayor and City Commissioner Shaun Musil. “But for as much activity as there is down there, it’s one of the worst streets in town, in my opinion, and it needs to be done. I just ask people to be patient. I think Morgan Brothers has done good work in this community before, as have all these contractors, and I think they will do it again. … I think they’ll do a great job if they want to continue to do work here in the city of Hays.”

Morgan Brothers was also low bidder on a curb and brick repair project in the 1100 block of Pine Street, the 1500 block of Walnut Street, select areas on 13th Street west of Main Street and joint repairs on Main Street. Those bids totaled $76,150, and the contract allows 26 working days for that, Braun said.

The city commissioners Thursday evening approved all 16 bids in the 2020 street repair program, with projects totaling almost $1.8 million.