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City committee OKs Willmar Avenue project contract

WILLMAR -- Construction will begin sometime this summer on the Willmar Avenue Southwest railroad crossing quiet zone, and also on the realignment and extension of Willmar Avenue Southwest from 22nd Street Southwest into the new industrial park.

Work could begin in a couple of weeks now that the City Council's Public Works/Safety Committee has recommended a $1,068,195 construction contract with Duininck Inc., of Prinsburg. The bid from Duininck was the only bid submitted when the city opened bids June 18.

The committee will recommend the council approve the contract at the next regular meeting Monday night.

No start date has been determined because the city has not had a preconstruction meeting with Duininck, said Bruce Peterson, interim public works director. Peterson said it usually takes a couple of weeks to get insurance, bonds and paperwork finished and to issue a notice to proceed. Substantial completion is required in November.

A portion of the Willmar Avenue extension has already been constructed through the industrial park between County Road 5 and Industrial Drive Southwest (former State Highway 40).

Completion of the Willmar Avenue project will provide access to future business development and provide development options in the new industrial park. The park is being developed in the old airport site.

The project will provide a safer intersection at Industrial Drive Southwest, said Peterson.

"It gives us a 90-degree crossing at the railroad tracks and it gives us a 90-degree approach to what is now Industrial Drive,'' he said.

The existing portion of Willmar Avenue between 22nd Street and the Jennie-O Turkey Store headquarters parking lot entrance will be abandoned.

Also part of the project is construction of a quiet zone at the BNSF crossing. The crossing will be designed with safety measures such as full-width crossing gates and center medians to prohibit motorists from crossing the tracks when a train is approaching.

In 2005, the Federal Railroad Administration enacted rules that allow trains to silence their horns at established quiet zones.

The City Council on May 20 voted to authorize advertising for project bids. Jared Voge, interim city engineer with Bolton & Menk of Willmar, said the Duininck bid is 11 percent above the engineer's estimate, due to higher prices for aggregate base material, bituminous and storm sewer.

The project will be paid with a combination of state aid funds, Kandiyohi County state aid funds, and local option sales tax revenue.

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