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Willmar has an $11 million street to-do list for 2022

The Willmar City Council has approved $11 million worth of road projects for 2022. They include complete road reconstruction, mill and overlay and three city parking lots.

Traffic on U.S. Highway 71 on the north edge of Willmar on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022.
Traffic drives into Willmar along U.S. Business Highway 71 on the afternoon of Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022. This stretch of roadway will see construction work in the coming months. The stretch of Business 71, from 13th Avenue to 23rd Street/26th Avenue, will be getting a new overlay of bituminous pavement as part of the city's 2022 street improvement plan.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
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WILLMAR — It'll be a busy street construction season in Willmar this year. At the Jan. 18 Willmar City Council meeting, the council unanimously approved the annual street improvement plan and ordered $11 million worth of projects to take place.

This year there are six street reconstruction projects, three street overlays and three parking lot projects. They will be funded through a variety of sources, including property assessments, local option sales tax, state and county funds and monies from Willmar Municipal Utilities.

The reconstruction projects are 13th Street Southwest from Litchfield Avenue to Trott Avenue; Litchfield Avenue Southwest from 13th Street to 100 feet west of 11th Street; Sixth Street Southwest from 19th Avenue to Willmar Avenue; 17th Avenue Southwest; Charlotte Street Southeast from Johanna Avenue to Becker Avenue; and the Industrial Drive Service Road.

"The total street section is redone. All the bituminous, all the gravel is removed, utility work is done underneath it and that entire section is built back up," said Jared Voge of Bolton & Menk , which is doing the city's engineering work on a contracted basis.

While road condition is one of the things considered when choosing the streets to be reconstructed, Voge said utilities also play a part. In each of the reconstruction projects, there will also be upgrades and repairs made to the sanitary sewer, water main and storm sewer systems.

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"All the pipes associated with all three utilities — sanitary sewer, water main and storm sewer — will be replaced," Voge said.

In some of the projects, additional storm sewer catch basins will be added in areas where the system's current condition is not adequate to quickly drain standing water.

"The streets drain a long way to catch basins and it creates ponding in the streets, which ultimately leads to quicker pavement deterioration," Voge said. "The faster you can get water off the street, the better the street will be in terms of life expectancy."

The three overlay projects being done this year are First Street Northeast/Business 71 from 13th Avenue to 23rd Street/26th Avenue; 19th Street/Lakeland Drive from First Street to Willmar Avenue; and Seventh Street Northwest/Kandiyohi County Road 41 from Park Avenue to 15th Avenue. In these projects only the top 3 inches of the bituminous road surface is removed and replaced.

"It creates a much smoother surface and eliminate the potholes and cracking," Voge said.

The city also plans to reconstruct the parking lots of Sperryville Park, the Willmar Fire Station and the city parking lot on Seventh Street Southwest.

Property assessments will fund $2.99 million of the $11 million estimated total. Reconstruction will cost between $67.25 to $87.50 per foot, and overlay is estimated at $42.50 to $65.00 per foot, depending on the final bid price.

"We have a range here simply because the different projects exist," Voge said. "Not every street is identical."

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According to the timeline, Bolton & Menk will go out for bids in late February, open bids in late March and present the bids to the council in early April. The public assessment hearing, along with adoption of the final assessment roll and awarding of contracts, is scheduled for early May. Construction will begin in mid-May and be substantially completed, weather permitting, in mid-October. The reconstruction projects will reach final completion by June 2023, when the last layer of bituminous pavement is laid on the streets.

Residents and property owners who will be impacted by the approved projects will have a chance to learn more about the work and ask any questions they may have at an open house to be held on Feb. 17.

"We see the open house as an opportunity to provide that information up front," Voge said.

More from the Willmar City Council:
A country music festival may take place on Robbins Island in September if a use agreement is finalized between the City of Willmar and festival promoter Steve Peppin. The Willmar City Council passed a motion of support Monday and will later consider the use agreement.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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