A $286,000 bid submitted by Harris United, LLC, was selected by the Van Buren City Council Monday night as the winning bid for the Pointer Trail Sidewalk Improvement Plan.

The project, which Mayor Joe Hurst estimated would start sometime in May after school has recessed for the summer so as to cut down on traffic on Pointer Trail, will go from Van Buren High School to Highway 59. It will include two stretches of existing sidewalk.

“If you’ll remember this is from a grant we received from the Transportation Alternative Program (TAP),” said Hurst. “We also got a grant for the Rena Road sidewalks we put in. This will go on the north side of Pointer Trail. There are sidewalks on the south side, but it seems like most people walk on the north side in the grass.”

Earlier in the meeting the council voted unanimously to enter into a contract for engineering with Hawkins-Weir Engineers, Inc., with services not to exceed $25,000 (including reimbursable expenses).

Hawkins-Weir representative Larry Yancey was on hand to discuss that agreement, which would cover such things as development of plans and designs for the city as well as cost estimates and supervision for said projects.

He also spoke with the council about the company whose bid the city was accepting for the sidewalk project.

“Harris United, LLC, is a relatively new company that’s been part of Harris Construction Group in some form in the past,” he said. “They are a relatively new company but we did our due diligence as far as checking their background, their references and financial information.”

Yancey also said the sidewalk would be a “standard” sidewalk with a width of at least four feet.

“There are some areas where it will be really tight, especially at the west end of the project at Braum’s,” he said. We actually had to get an easement from Braum’s to squeeze in a four foot sidewalk because there’s very limited space there.”

He added, “It’s a narrow corridor but it is going to be a good project.”

Yancey said the company should have no trouble integrating the two existing sections of sidewalk into the master plan.

“There are two pieces of sidewalk that have been installed since we got started in the grant application process,” he said. “Those sidewalks look very good and we’re going to tie right into those and it should look pretty seamless with the brand new sidewalk all the way up to the high school.”

Hurst said he was looking forward to finally getting the project started.

“This is a good project and an exciting project,” he said. “I’m glad we’re starting to move forward with that.”