Willmar public works director proposes $3 million in street projects for 2015

WILLMAR -- Willmar Public Works Director and City Engineer Sean Christensen is proposing five street reconstruction projects, five street overlay projects, along with path and parking lot overlays and work on one alley in the 2015 improvement report.

Carolina Avenue Southwest slated for reconstruction
TRIBUNE/Rand Middleton Worn pavement is plainly visible Friday on Carolina Avenue Southwest in Willmar in the area where reconstruction is proposed next year. The 2015 street improvement plan calls for reconstruction of Carolina Avenue Southwest from 11th Street to 13th Street. The street improvement plan was presented to a city committee this week, and a public hearing is slated for Feb. 17 during the regular meeting of the Willmar City Council.

WILLMAR - Willmar Public Works Director and City Engineer Sean Christensen is proposing five street reconstruction projects, five street overlay projects, along with path and parking lot overlays and work on one alley in the 2015 improvement report.
All projects are estimated at $3,071,814. Improvements are funded by a variety of sources, including $2,750,000 in local funds, up from $2,500,000 in 2014. Other sources are state aid funds and assessments.
Next year’s overlays include three that were among five that the council removed from the 2014 program after property owners, who were to be assessed for work on their streets, said the work was not needed.
Christensen explained that the three overlays were added back in thanks to an increase of $250,000 in the mayor’s 2015 budget.
“That’s a big help because an overlay is about $300,000 to $350,000 a mile,’’ Christensen said in an interview. “That $250,000 additional, depending on where you want to spread that $250,000, could help that out quite a bit.’’
Christensen presented his improvement report this week to the council members who serve on the Public Works/Safety Committee. The committee, in accordance with state law, voted to receive the report and ordered a public hearing to be conducted at the Feb. 17 council meeting.
The committee vote is a recommendation that the council will consider Monday night.
Committee chairman Ron Christianson asked Christensen if the city could possibly open construction bids in the fall, rather than spring, and get better bids.
Christensen, who joined the city last March, said one of the first things that came to his attention was that the city was bidding street projects “way too late’’ in the year. With the construction season starting in June, Christensen said bidding projects in May and June did not work well because contractors have already set their schedules.
“They’ll do the project but it will cost this much money because (they) have to fit it into something else,’’ which he said pushes construction into October and November. “We should bid no later than February-March.’’
Christensen said he is attempting to speed up the schedule for ordering plans and specifications, opening construction bids, holding the assessment hearing and awarding contracts.
According to the 2015 schedule Christensen is proposing, construction would begin in June and be substantially complete by October. By bidding earlier, Christensen said he hopes to get multiple bidders and potentially better bids.
Committee member Steve Ahmann thanked Christensen for the thorough and detailed report, which includes costs, street location and original year of construction, condition description and status, and subsequent maintenance.
However, Ahmann, who has several times voiced his concern for seal-coating and crack-sealing maintenance efforts, noted that some streets in the report have never been crack-sealed or seal-coated.
Christensen said he too is alarmed potentially at some of those dates. But the city has enacted a relatively new five-year planning program, and he said the 2015 capital improvement budget includes the additional funding. Christensen also said he proposes the amount be increased each year for more maintenance type-activities.
Committee members Audrey Nelsen and Bruce DeBlieck urged the council to follow the pavement management plan, and BeDlieck requested residents be notified sooner if work is proposed for their street.
The condition of most of Willmar’s streets is good, Christensen said in an interview. According to the Pavement Condition Index, which rates streets 0-100 percent with zero the worst and 100 excellent, 104.25 miles of the 130 miles of streets are rated 70 percent and above.
Number of miles and their ratings are:
2.75 miles - 0-20 percent
4 miles - 21-30
6.5 miles - 31-40
3.25 miles - 41-50
5.75 miles - 51-60
17.5 miles - 61-70
26.75 miles - 71-80
31.5 miles - 81-90
32.5 miles - 91-100
Streets rated from 0 to 40 or 50 percent are considered reconstructs and beyond maintenance. Reconstruction is estimated at about $2 million a mile.
Streets rated from 50 or 60 percent to 70 percent would be overlays, in which the top surface is removed and replaced with new surface.
Streets rated 70 percent and above would receive crack-sealing and seal-coating to make a new surface but not add any structure because the structure is still good, Christensen said.
In general, a new street will last about 20 years if nothing is done to it. Seal-coating is the least expensive maintenance at about $35,000 a mile and would be done every seven to eight years.
Overlay, which would be done at 20 to 22 years, costs about $350,000 a mile and returns the street to the 90 to 100 percent range, Christensen said.
“Then you start the process again and you can extend the life of a street 50 to 60 years by doing that,’’ he said. “So an overlay by itself would add 15 years maybe if nothing else was done to it.’’


Report lists Willmar city improvements for 2015 WILLMAR - The 2015 preliminary engineering report of improvement projects is proposing reconstruction of 1.36 miles of streets, 1.22 miles of street overlays, and work on 1.59 miles of paths in Willmar. The report is being proposed by Public Works Director and City Engineer Sean Christensen.
The report states selection of project areas was based on the five-year capital improvement plan as well as input from the city engineering staff and the Willmar Municipal Utilities staff.
Three of the overlays, which had been canceled for 2014, were added back for 2015, said Christensen. They are the first three in the list below.
Reconstruction: * 7 1/2 Street Southwest - from 19th Avenue to Willmar Avenue.
* Carolina Avenue Southwest - from 11th Street to 13th Street.
* Ninth Street Northwest - from Ella Avenue to Park Avenue.
* Park Avenue Northwest - from Woodland Avenue to Seventh Street.
* 21st Street Southwest - from 225 feet south of 22nd Avenue to 19th Avenue.
Overlay: * 23rd Street Southwest - from Trott Avenue to the north end.
* Seventh Street Southeast - from Willmar Avenue to the former wastewater treatment plant.
* 25th Street Southeast - from Fourth Avenue to Seventh Avenue.
* Kandiyohi Avenue Southwest - from Seventh Street to 11th Street.
* Trott Avenue Southeast - from First Street to Julii Street.
Paths: * Seventh Street Northwest - from the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds to 15th Avenue.
* Hedin Park - from Seventh Street Northwest to Country Club Drive and Robbins Island.
* Robbins Island - beach path.
Parking lots: * Block 50 (south of Bethel Church)
* North Swansson.
Alley: Between City Auditorium and City Hall.

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