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Willmar proposes $2.76M in 2016 street improvements

WILLMAR -- A rebuilt street in front of the downtown Willmar Fire Station, and a smoother surface and added bike lanes on one mile of Lakeland Drive, are among projects in the city's proposed 2016 improvement report.The report estimates the cost ...

WILLMAR - A rebuilt street in front of the downtown Willmar Fire Station, and a smoother surface and added bike lanes on one mile of Lakeland Drive, are among projects in the city’s proposed 2016 improvement report.
The report estimates the cost of three reconstruction projects, three overlay projects, one parking lot repair project, and replacement of three sanitary sewer lift stations at $2,764,881.
The city’s share of the cost is estimated at $1,962,038 and the share from property assessments is estimated at $802,842.
The selection of projects is based on the five-year capital improvement program and on input from the city engineering staff and Municipal Utilities staff, according to Public Works Director Sean Christensen.
The Public Works/Safety Committee of the Willmar City Council received the report this week and voted to recommend the council hold the improvement hearing as required by state law on March 7, 2016. The council will receive public comment and explain the proposed improvements. If the council orders the improvements, construction bids would be opened in mid-April, said Curly Wittman, senior engineering department technician.
Wittman discussed the report with the committee Tuesday and said details will be prepared after the council orders the improvements. He said the estimated costs are similar to those used in 2015. However, he hopes the city will see a decrease in bid prices from road construction contractors because the price of oil, which is a major factor in bituminous paving, is down.
Committee members asked Wittman if the city is moving toward an earlier bid opening date when bidding may be more competitive because contractors are looking for work.
“We have had some discussion last year on trying to bump up things as much as possible to get in on early bids,’’ said Councilman Andrew Plowman.
Councilman Ron Christianson, committee chairman, said the issue had been discussed.
“The reason is when you get to March and April of the year it will be done, a lot of those road building companies have got a lot of work ahead of them already,’’ he said. “Are we late or is it typical? That’s why it was brought up prior. Can we work toward getting bids out earlier for better ones or not?’’
Wittman said he was not sure of the advantage of earlier bidding. He said every year is different regarding contractors and how the industry is. Last year, he said the city had five projects and had multiple bidders on one project and one bidder on four projects.
“Whether that would be changed or not, I can’t say. I think bidding in April is not out of line. I don’t think it’s too late by any means,’’ he said. “We are trying to move it ahead a little more. I can’t comment whether moving it ahead is an advantage.’’
Councilwoman Audrey Nelsen said she thought the city was moving the process ahead a little bit and she asked if Christensen would report back to the committee.
Reconstruction
The report proposes reconstruction of three streets:
*Second Street Southwest, from Minnesota Avenue to Trott Avenue. Work includes replacing bituminous surfacing with concrete, replacing curb and gutter, and replacing water main, sanitary sewer and storm sewer lines.
*15th Avenue Southwest, from Eighth Street to Seventh Street. Work includes new bituminous surfacing, new curb and gutter as needed and storm water improvements.
*7½ Street Southwest, from 19th Avenue to Willmar Avenue. Work includes new bituminous paving, replace curb and gutter as needed, and sewer and water improvements.
Overlays
Three streets would receive new overlays:
*Lakeland Drive, from U.S. Highway 12 to Civic Center Drive. Wittman said the city will initiate a 6-foot wide bike lane on each side of the road, which will still have 16-foot wide northbound and southbound driving lanes.
*Ella Avenue Northwest, from First Street to Seventh Street.
*Minnesota Avenue Southwest, from First Street to 18th Street.
Miscellaneous
*Repair parking lot adjacent to 1801 Technology Dr. N.E.
*Demolish and replace three lift stations at Country Club Drive, Westwood Court and Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds.

Related Topics: WILLMAR CITY COUNCIL
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