A sign indicates to visitor that they are entering downtown Farmington on Monday. Farmington city council will vote on whether to approve a 135,000
A sign indicates to visitor that they are entering downtown Farmington on Monday. Farmington city council will vote on whether to approve a 135,000 downtown gateway project tonight. (Augusta Liddic/The Daily Times)

FARMINGTON — A pair of projects could improve navigation in Downtown Farmington and access to the growing Foothills neighborhood in the city's northeast corner.

The city council will vote tonight on proposals for a roughly $6.6 million street widening project on Foothills Drive and for a $135,000 Downtown Gateway signage project.

The Foothills project will add sidewalks and bicycle lanes to the busy, narrow road.

The council tabled final approval of the project's design phase at a work session in June after Councilor Jason Sandel proposed that the design be done in one phase.

Sandel did not return a call for comment on Monday.

The two proposed design phases will each cost $300,000, said Jeff Smaka, Public Works Director. The first construction phase will cost $2.5 million and will begin in two years. The second phase could cost between $2.5 million and $3 million depending on future material and labor costs.

"Staff is not advising us that they see (any) economy of scale," said Mayor Tommy Roberts. "They've noted that a local company received the highest rating for the bidding on the first (design) phase."

If the city approves the proposal to combine the phases, the project would have to go out to bid again in order to comply with the state's procurement code, he said.

"A local company may not then be the highest rated," Roberts said. "We like to see local companies active."

The Foothills Drive widening project is essential and has been put off for a number of years, he said.

"(It's) a growing area," Roberts said. "It gets a lot of traffic. Much of the roadway doesn't have shoulders."

The downtown gateway project is also a city priority, he said.

A vehicle travels north on Foothills Drive last month in Farmington. Farmington City Council will vote on whether to approve a $6.6 million expansion
A vehicle travels north on Foothills Drive last month in Farmington. Farmington City Council will vote on whether to approve a $6.6 million expansion project on Foothills Drive. (Daily Times File Photo)

"It would designate the downtown area as a distinct area and retail center," Roberts said.

The project calls for three gateway points. One on each end of Main Street and one on the east end of Broadway Avenue in downtown, he said.

The council allocated $135,000 for the project in February, according to Daily Times records.

But the gateway signage project does not yet have a price estimate, Roberts said.

"I think gateways to the community can be one of those things that draw people," he said. "We continue to invest resources in our downtown area."

Greg Yee covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and gyee@daily-times.com. Follow him @GYeeDT on Twitter.