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Reconstruction set for Willmar streets damaged by frost boils

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WILLMAR -- Reconstruction of four neighborhood streets severely damaged by frost boils should begin in late August or early September now that the Willmar City Council has approved the assessment rate for the work.

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Following a public hearing Monday, the council approved the assessment rate of $59.76 per foot against benefited properties along the streets. The rate is the same as the rate previously adopted by the council for other street reconstruction this year.

The four streets were added to the contract the city previously approved with Duininck Inc. of Prinsburg for the 2011 street improvement program.

The streets are:

- 20th Avenue Southwest from 22nd Street Southwest to 25th Street Southwest.

- 25th Street Southwest from 20th Avenue Southwest to 21st Avenue Southwest.

- 11th Avenue Southeast from Ninth Street Southeast to about 600 feet west of Sixth Street Southeast.

- Fourth Avenue Southeast from 24th Street Southeast to 25th Street Southeast.

Council member Jim Dokken asked how the city could add the streets without obtaining additional bids. City Clerk-Treasurer Kevin Halliday and City Attorney Rich Ronning said state law allows an increase of 25 percent in the original contract without obtaining further bids.

Public Works Director Holly Wilson said the four streets had an excessive amount of frost boils.

Other streets around town were also damaged by frost boils, but those streets were not damaged as badly and were patched instead under a contract with a private company.

The streets were all within the city's draft five-year street program and would eventually be done anyway, "and so we basically moved them forward a little bit,'' said Wilson. "It seemed more economical to do the full reconstruct rather than trying to do many repairs along the streets.''

Wilson presented photos showing where cones were placed to mark the damaged areas, making maneuvering difficult.

Wilson said the existing section of 4 inches of base aggregate gravel and 3 inches of bituminous surfacing on each of the streets will be replaced with 10 inches of aggregate and 4 inches of bituminous. The stronger section is being used with other street projects.

Work could not begin until after the council holds the assessment hearing. Now that the hearing has been held, Duininck will be told that work can proceed.

"But we couldn't start the work until after we had the assessment hearing and made sure that everything was in order before we put the contractor to work,'' said Wilson in an interview prior to the hearing "But we do have the signed change order from the contractor so once the assessment hearing is completed, then we would be able to proceed with the work.''

When the city has a start date, residents will be informed with a door hanger or something of that nature, said Wilson. The four streets are to be completed by Nov. 15.

The only affected property owner to speak was Jhonny Rocha, 2400 Fourth Ave. S.E. He felt his street should be patched rather than rebuilt. Wilson said the street has already been patched in several locations and to patch the frost boils would be a significant patching and would almost cover the entire street anyway.

The project carries a $446,836 cost, of which assessments will cover $291,142. A loan from the permanent improvement revolving fund, which the city uses to temporarily finance projects until permanent financing is arranged, will pay the city's $155,694 share.

The loan will be reimbursed with the bonds that are sold to finance the 2012 improvement program, said Wilson.

In related business, the council approved the assessment rate of $59.76 per foot against benefitted properties for reconstructing 12th Street Southwest and 19th Street Northwest and set Sept. 6 as the date for the assessment hearing.

In other business, the council approved a request from Affiliated Community Medical Centers of Willmar to rezone the former Washington Learning Center from government/institutional to limited business. ACMC bought the former school after the Willmar School District restructured and closed the building.

The council held a hearing to take comments from the public regarding the zoning change but no one spoke for or against the change, which will let ACMC use the building for maintenance, laundry, purchasing and supplies, and storage.

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David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150
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