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City moves forward with College Drive reconstruction

For the third year the College Drive Reconstruction project remained a controversial topic for the city of Brainerd.

In 2011 the council, by a narrow margin, approved increasing the project from $6.9 million to about $9.4 million. More than $4.335 million in federal finding has been received for the project. The majority of the remaining costs will be funded with the city’s state aid money.

The project will include four lanes from Crow Wing County Road 48 to South Fourth Street; reconstruction of College Drive and Crow Wing County Road 48 intersection; roundabouts at Mississippi River Parkway, Southwest Fourth Street and South Fourth Street; a stop light at Quince and South Fifth streets; repaving Quince Street to South Sixth Street; trails; sidewalks; bridge improvements; pedestrian crosswalks, flashers and deterrents; lighting improvements; and a backage road to accommodate the apartment buildings.

The council needed to go out for bids on the project twice. In September, the council accepted a bid of $6,343,822 from Anderson Brothers Construction, one of four bidders. That action followed an August rejection of a bid of $7,333,169 from Anderson Brothers, which was the lone bidder during the first round.

Also during 2011 a Crow Wing County judge ruled in favor of the city in a lawsuit filed by the owners of the Colonywood Apartment complex concerning the college drive project. In the lawsuit the apartment complex owners alleged a petition the city received from Central Lakes College in support of the project was not valid because the college was not a landowner. In accepting the petition, the city only needed a simple majority of four affirmative votes instead of a super majority five votes to proceed with the project. The apartment owners are appealing the district court’s decision.

While the majority of the project is in Brainerd, Baxter and Crow Wing County also are participating with improvements at College Road and Crow Wing County Road 48. Crews began removing trees along the construction corridor this fall and a majority of the construction is planned in 2012.

MATT ERICKSON may be reached at or 855-5857.