RANSON – The on-again, off-again century-long effort to complete Fairfax Boulevard through Ranson is back on again.
Impatient to finish the residential thoroughfare, Ranson officials are taking on the next step to jump-start the construction of the roadway’s last two blocks on behalf of the current developer of the Fairfax Crossing subdivision.
The Town Council approved a $125,0000 proposal on Oct. 22 to hire a firm to prepare the final engineering specifications for the boulevard’s last unfinished two blocks.
The national firm, Kimley-Horn and Associates based in Raleigh, N.C., will complete engineering documents for the construction of the two-lane boulevard as well as sidewalks, sewer and water lines, and street lighting. The documents will allow the city to seek contract bids from construction firms to finish the street and its related utility infrastructure.
City Manager Andy Blake said Kimley-Horn should complete its engineering work by December. A construction firm could be selected early next year with a groundbreaking taking place early next spring, he said. That last link could open sometime next year.
Blake said the city set aside $900,000 in its current budget to finish Fairfax Boulevard. The current developer of the Fairfax Crossing neighborhood, Kline Scott Visco of Frederick, Md., will be required to reimburse the city for the roadway and utility infrastructure before building any more new homes in the subdivision.
About 270 homes have been built in Fairfax Crossing, about another 300 homes could be built on 43 acres of additional undeveloped land there.
Fairfax Boulevard has been envisioned as a main transportation artery through Ranson since the city’s original street blueprints were created in 1910. Completing the roadway would connect the Ranson’s oldest downtown neighborhoods with newer commercial and residential developments that straddle W.Va. 9.
This year, Ranson spent about $1 million to complete the construction of three of the last five undeveloped blocks of Fairfax Boulevard that the city owns. That section includes a block-long, peanut-shaped traffic circle.
The city owns the right-of-way for Fairfax Avenue from 12th Avenue to just beyond 15th Avenue. Kline Scott Visco is responsible for developing the street from 15th to 17th avenues.
The thoroughfare project — which has included building new sidewalks’ curbs and gutters, and a wide median with stormwater management system filtered in part by natural plantings — has been plagued for years by delays, including the bankruptcy of the previous developer of Fairfax Crossing.