The road has remained closed since May as the city seeks to stabilize the slope on its eastern side.
During the council’s meeting at City Hall Tuesday night, its members voted unanimously (6-0) to authorize City Manager John McDonough to award design and construction contracts in order to move the project forward “as expeditiously as possible.”
According to a tentative schedule devised by city planners, the deadline for design proposals is Aug. 28. By that timeline, actual construction would begin in late September.
How long it takes for the restoration project to reach completion is dependent on a variety of factors, said District 1 Councilman John Paulson.
“One is what we run into [while excavating]; two is what type of design will be implemented,” said Paulson, an engineer. “And, the other thing is, regardless of what we do, once we start cutting into the soil the objective is to rebuild it as quickly as you can.”
Since 2009, city officials have received 13 work order requests related to mud/rock slides and trees down along Lake Forrest Drive — with eight of those work orders coming this year.
The closure of portions of the road between Lake Summit and Chevaux Court has generated its own share of problems.
In addition to increased traffic on neighboring roadways, reported incidents of motorists disregarding one-way road signage and circumventing a barrier wall blocking northbound access on Lake Forrest Drive have surfaced.
“I hate closing it … but somebody could’ve died [had we not],” said District 4 Councilman Gabriel Sterling. “It’s closed until it’s fixed and reopened.”
In other news, council members voted 6-0 to implement a 30-day moratorium on applications by tenants for improvements as part of the city’s incentive policy.
The move came after District 6 Councilwoman Karen Meinzen McEnerny gave the lone dissenting vote of an incentive application submitted by local firm CH2M Hill calling for a $2 million build-out.
“My intention when I approved this incentive program was to give incentives for real capital items such as roofs, expansions of buildings, lobby upgrades — things that actually extend the useful life of the building,” said McEnerny. “I am not going to support this application because it is against my viewpoint that tenant improvements are not what we’re seeking … we’re really seeking, in my view, capital.”
Sterling countered that denying the applicant — compliant with current policy guidelines — mid-stream would be unfair.
The council will now spend the next month clarifying incentive criteria.
Elsewhere on the agenda, council members also approved the purchase of the Waffle House at 226 Mount Vernon Hwy. in conjunction with the impending city center development project.