The Norman Transcript

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November 14, 2012

Planning contract awarded

NORMAN — Council approves $300,000 for transportation strategy

The Norman City Council approved a contract with Freese and Nichols for $300,000 for the development of a Comprehensive Transportation Plan this week. The plan will guide the city in the implementation of long-range corridor and transportation planning with multi-modal options.

Council members approved the contract 8-1, with Roger Gallagher voting against it.

The item was originally on the consent docket, a section of the city council agenda that allows for quick passage of a number of routine items without debate.

Council members asked that the contract be moved to the regular agenda, however, to allow for deeper discussion. At the heart of the issue were changes that had been made to the contract following input by Harold Heiple, the attorney who represents the Norman Developers Council.

The new proposed contract had reduced the number of public meetings and had shifted certain work details to Norman city staff. In addition to these changes, the new contract was $22,000 less.

Council members said they had not had time to review the changed contract fully, however, and some pushed for postponement.

“When the item was taken off the agenda at the last council meeting, I was able to have a very constructive meeting with the city manager and the director of public works about the scope of work — not the contract, but the scope of work,” Heiple said. “We need, in this town, a transportation study and we need to get it under way.”

Heiple said he favored adoption of either one of the contracts and urged the council to move forward.

After some debate, the council adopted the original $300,000 contract.

The lack of a comprehensive plan has, in certain situations, resulted in work to add turn lanes or upgrade an intersection because no tool for long-term planning was in place.

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