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Willmar Council reviews road projects, authorizes dates for bids

WILLMAR -- Road improvements for this year were reviewed at a public hearing during Monday's Willmar City Council meeting. The hearing is required by state statute to provide the public an explanation of the improvements, share estimated costs an...

WILLMAR - Road improvements for this year were reviewed at a public hearing during Monday’s Willmar City Council meeting. The hearing is required by state statute to provide the public an explanation of the improvements, share estimated costs and obtain input from interested parties.
“It helps out the city decision making process,” said Sean Christensen, Public Works director.
Following the hearing the council approved the plans and specifications of the projects and directed staff to advertise for bids March 14 and authorize bids to be opened April 5.
The 2016 improvements are road reconstruction, overlay projects and a few miscellaneous projects across the city.
“Pretty typical,” Christensen said.
The reconstruction projects are for 7-1/2 Street Southwest: 19th Avenue Southwest to Willmar Avenue Southwest; 15th Avenue Southwest: Eighth Street Southwest to Seventh Street Southwest; and Second Street Southwest: Minnesota Avenue Southwest to Trott Avenue Southwest.
The 7-1/2 Street Southwest project also includes replacing the old cast iron water main with an eight-inch PVC pipe.
“There have been water main breaks on that section of street,” Christensen said.
Second Street Southwest will be reconstructed as concrete, which will stand up better to the heavy traffic in that area, which can include fire trucks and traffic from the hospital, Christensen said.
The overlay projects are Lakeland Drive Northeast: U.S. Highway 12 to Civic Center Drive; Ella Avenue Northwest: Seventh Street Northwest to First Street (Road and Path Surfaces); and Minnesota Avenue Southwest: 18th Street Southwest to First Street.
State aid will be helping to fund both the Lakeland Drive Northeast and Ella Avenue projects.
“That will be a big factor in helping us construct the project,” Christensen said.
On Lakeland Drive bike lanes will be striped on both sides of the road, and the trail along Ella Avenue will be getting a new layer of pavement.
The parking lot adjacent to 1801 Technology Drive Northeast is also being repaired.
“We’ve got some heaving,” Christensen said.
The estimated cost for the projects is $2,923,920.
“I like to be within 10 percent,” Christensen said of his estimating project costs.
Funds will be coming from special assessments, state aid funds and bond proceeds.
Assessments will be levied on properties within the city that benefit from the project based on linear feet. An assessment hearing will be scheduled around mid-May.
Christensen said construction should begin in June and wrap up in October. Property owners will be notified prior to work beginning on the streets. During construction local traffic will still be able to use the streets.
“You’re never going to be blocked out of your property,” Christensen said.
There were public comments raised during the hearing that not enough reconstruction work was being done.
“We aren’t doing enough,” Councilmember Ron Christianson said. However, funding does limit what the city can achieve.
Christensen said he has looked back over the past few years and has seen an increase.
“We are doing more this year than we have in the past,” Christensen said.
Additional action
The council also approved the recommendations from the Finance Committee to purchase a new document management system, upgrade the city website, retrofit the public works garage lighting to LED and purchase five new sets of firefighter turnout gear.

Related Topics: WILLMAR CITY COUNCIL
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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