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Willmar moves forward on various street and other improvement projects

The Willmar City Council approved bids for street reconstruction projects and the airport apron expansion project at the April 4 meeting. Council members also gave their permission for the street and parking lot overlay projects and the Epitopix water and sanitary sewer improvements to go out to bids.

Industrial Drive Service Road Willmar April 7 2022.JPG
The Industrial Drive Service Road, in the Willmar Industrial Park, is one of the four street reconstruction projects on the 2022 street improvement list. Voss Plumbing & Heating/Voss Concrete & Masonry was awarded the project at the April 4 meeting of the Willmar City Council.
Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — The city of Willmar had a positive bidding experience for the four street reconstruction projects to be completed this year. Each of the projects had several interested contractors bid, and the low bidders were all under the engineer's estimate for construction costs.

"Bids came in well for these projects," said Jared Voge, consulting engineer from Bolton & Menk.

The council on April 4 unanimously approved all the low bidders and as-bid budgets for the four reconstruction projects.

  • Voss Plumbing & Heating/Voss Concrete and Masonry was awarded the Sixth Street Southwest project from 19th Avenue to Willmar Avenue with a low bid of $2,197,554.
  • The Charlotte Street Southeast reconstruction project from Johanna Avenue to Becker Avenue was awarded to Duininck Inc. with a low bid of $1,382,205.
  • Voss, with a low bid of $1,169,645, was awarded the Industrial Drive Southwest Service Road project.
  • Duininck was also awarded the 13th Street Southwest reconstruction from Litchfield Avenue to Trott Avenue and the Litchfield Avenue Southwest reconstruction from 13th Street to 11th Street with a low bid of $1,197,019.

"I talked to the contractors. They are excited to get going," Voge said, adding the projects should be completed, weather permitting, by fall.
Voge said the city's flexibility with scheduling and materials, along with getting the projects out to potential bidders early, most likely helped in bringing in positive bid results. He also said the city's urge to get multiple projects done was also a boon.

"Council's action of pursuing additional reconstruction projects at one time really generated a lot of interest," Voge said.

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The city is also planning two street overlay projects — 19th Avenue/Lakeland Drive Southeast from First Street to Willmar Avenue and First Street Northeast/Business 71 from 13th Avenue to 26th Street — and parking lot improvements to the north and south Fire Station lots; Block 41, Lots 11 and 12, just southwest of First Presbyterian Church; and the parking lot at Sperryville Park.

"This is the second component of the 2022 improvements ," Voge said.

The council authorized advertising for bids for the overlay projects, along with approving the final plans and specifications. Those bids will be opened April 27, with council approval to follow at a meeting in May.

Funding for all the street improvements will come from a mix of local, state and local dollars plus special assessments on properties.

More Willmar City Council:
In split 5-2 votes, Willmar City Council approved accepting a grant to construct an outdoor fitness court and applying for an Age-Friendly Minnesota Community grant.

The final plans and specifications for the Epitopix sewer and water main extension project were approved by the council, which also gave the authorization to advertise for bids. Epitopix requested the city extend its water and sewer utilities to their property in Willmar Township on 45th Street Northwest, allowing for the veterinary vaccine production facility to complete a large expansion of the business.

The sewer expansion is being paid for almost entirely by a $1.3 million Innovative Business Development Public Infrastructure grant from the state. Any remaining balance for the sewer line, plus the cost of the water main expansion will be funded through bonding, city wastewater funds and from Epitopix. Bid opening is scheduled for May 4.

The Willmar Municipal Airport apron expansion project is moving forward, with the council giving its approval to award the project to Kraemer Excavating Inc., who had the low bid of $1,031,809 out of four total bids.

The project will expand the main apron approximately 275 feet by 275 feet. This will fit the needs of a new, large private hangar that is proposed to be built. The completed project will open the airport up to larger aircraft.

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The low bid came in about 4 percent over the engineer's estimate, but funding for the project has been figured out.

Just over 83 percent of the project, $985,164, will come from the Federal Aviation Administration, 9.85 percent or $116,459 from the state and the remaining $81,186 from the city.

To make sure the project can move forward quickly, Bolton & Menk was able to create a transfer of $250,000 in airport entitlement funds from Sauk Centre to Willmar, who will need to repay the money by May 15, 2024, using its own airport entitlement dollars.

"This will allow the project to be fully funded," Voge said.

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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