Shawnee set to update stretch of 59th street as part of downtown district improvements

West 59th Street between Barton and King in downtown Shawnee is getting upgraded. The street section will be closed for a month and a half for improvements, but local homeowners will still be allowed access.

As part of Shawnee’s ongoing efforts to improve the downtown district, the city will be upgrading a section of West 59th Street in the coming weeks.

The stretch of 59th Street between King and Barton streets will be getting a facelift. Julie Breithaupt, communications manager for the city, said this section of roadway will be closed for the duration of the project. Breithaupt said that “work should start in the next week or two and last for about a month and a half. Local homeowners will still be allowed access.”

After some deliberation over the city’s bid selection process, the Shawnee City Council on July 12 unanimously approved hiring J.M. Fahey Construction Company of Grandview, Mo., to lead the street improvements project.

The scope of the project includes:

  • Widening the street to city standards
  • Grading and asphalt
  • Curb and sidewalk
  • Storm sewer work
  • Accessibility ramps

As the lowest of six bidders, J.M. Fahey Construction Company was awarded just under $352,000 to complete the project.

Council discusses bid process ahead of vote

Some city leaders discussed the city’s bid selection process before voting. Councilmember Kurt Knappen asked how city staff chooses a bidder for a road construction project.

Riley McMullin, assistant project engineer for the city, said Shawnee generally selects the lowest bidder unless the city staff has concerns working with a particular construction company.

Councilmember Eric Jenkins said the city also sometimes selects a company that has prior experience working with the city and “provides a high level of confidence” for a quality product, even if that means selecting a company that did not give the lowest bid.

Councilmember Lisa Larson-Bunnell asked if the city gives priority to Shawnee-based companies. She expressed interest in supporting local businesses.

City Attorney Ellis Rainey said the city council previously gave preference for companies based in Shawnee, but the city adjusted that policy after those companies expressed concern that other cities would act likewise in favoring companies based in their own cities.