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Baxter expects delay in road project

BAXTER — A three-pronged road project slated for construction this summer is likely to be delayed at least three weeks.

The project involves Woida Road, Wildflower and Franklin drives.

An assessment hearing, initially planned for April 15, was moved back to the May 6 Baxter City Council meeting.

Tuesday, Aric Welch, vice president Widseth Smith Nolting, said a wetland fill application needed to widen Woida Road was forwarded to the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources for final approval.

Plans for stormwater basins are waiting for spring so wetlands may be appropriately mapped. The delay in the project is being driven by approvals for the storm sewer and state aid plan, along with land acquisition.

It means a special utilities commission meeting to approve plans and specifications would be pushed back from this week to March 4. A special council meeting expected next week is also now canceled.

With state approvals from the Minnesota Department of Transportation needed before the project can be advertised, Welch recommended awarding a bid on June 10.

The project reconstructs part of Woida, which engineers say is in poor shape and needs to be redone, and paves the gravel Franklin and Wildflower drives. It extends city sanitary sewer and water to Woida Road from Inglewood Drive to about 1,200 feet west of Highway 371, as well as all of Franklin and all of Wildflower drives.

Construction is expected to begin in late June.

Construction is expected to take four months. Once completed, residents would have a year to connect to the city services. There are 53 homes in the project area.

With the delay, Welch said he wasn’t too worried yet.

“This still gives us plenty of time to do the project,” Welch said. “It gives us four months to get it done so it’s still doable.”

If there are more delays, he said there would be a chance the project wouldn’t happen this year.

And if the schedule is tightened too much there was a concern the city would pay a higher premium to get it done in a shortened time frame.

“I don’t think we are at that point yet,” Welch said.

With the delay, plans are to start the project in phases beginning on Wildflower. How quickly things progress will in part hinge on getting all the property acquisition done in the next four weeks.

“It’s close,” said Trevor Walter, public works director, of getting acquisition completed. “We are not that far away.”

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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