Baxter City Council: First look at 2020 infrastructure projects emerges

WSB project engineer Chris Sonmor gives a rundown on the proposed 2020 road infrastructure projects at the Baxter City Council meeting Thursday, Aug. 15. Sonmor said the estimated total cost for these projects stand at $3,119,413.99 -- of which, 23.5% or $732,913.61 will be funded via special assessments to adjacent properties; 21.9% or $682,157.05 will be funded via state aid funding; and the remaining 54.6% or $1,704,343 will be taken up by the city of Baxter. Gabriel Lagarde / Brainerd Dispatch
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BAXTER -- With construction season 2019 on the final home stretch, it’s par for the course to take a look at upcoming roadway initiatives next year.

At the Baxter City Council special work session, Chris Sonmor, a project engineer with engineering-architectural firm WSB, gave a presentation Thursday, Aug. 15, on a group of significant infrastructure projects -- two trail installations, as well as three street reconstructions -- that look to loom large in the 2020 calendar year.

As such, Baxter city residents -- particularly those situated on Oakwood Drive, Golf Course Drive, Excelsior Drive and Fairview Road -- can get a first glimpse at the evolving picture forming for 2020.

Sonmor said the projects largely represent the application of the city’s long-term vision to repair and revamp its more than 80 miles of paved roadways, as well as associated pedestrian amenities such as trails that benefit the city’s mostly open suburban concept.

He emphasized that these projects, while more invasive and perhaps frustrating to local motorists, represent a proactive, comprehensive solution over short-term Band-Aids like seal coats and overlay repairs.


In discussion, two residents and members of the council raised concerns and suggestions for how trail connections, signs and flashers at intersections should be oriented to best accommodate pedestrians and motorists alike.

The projects lowdown

  • Installing a multi-use trail near Oakwood Drive from Cedar Scenic Road to Whipple Beach Recreational Area. The city of Baxter is acquiring 30 feet of right-of-way from Crow Wing County to accommodate a proposed 12-food-wide bituminous multi-use trial, as well as pedestrian crossings and flashers near the Camp Vanasek ball field. Driveway access for future logging truck traffic will also be included.

  • Installing a new trail connecting the intersection of Highway 210 and Golf Course Drive. The new trail will be routed around the current Kohl’s site through right-of-way provided by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Included alongside the following proposals, all three projects incorporate plans for 6-inch bituminous pavement over 6 inches of aggregate base beneath, a new concrete curb and gutter, new street lighting with 40-foot poles and LED units spaced 200 feet apart, as well as replacement of sanitary sewer manhole adjustment rings and stormwater sewer.

  • Reconstruction of Excelsior Road from Highway 371 to 600 feet west of Cypress Drive. This would entail the construction of a 49-foot three-lane urban section with 7-foot eastbound, westbound bike lanes, a 13-foot center turn lane and a 11-foot thru lanes as well as two pedestrian crossings with flashers. Estimated costs sit at $972,600.81 currently.

  • Reconstruction of Fairview Road from Golf Course Drive to 700 feet east of the road. Included in this project is the installation of a 28-foot two-lane urban section, with 14-foot through lanes and an adjacent trail. Total estimated cost is $260,634.64.

  • Reconstruction of Golf Course Drive from Highway 210 to Excelsior Road. Crews would construct a 36-foot two-lane urban section with 7-foot bike lanes and 11-foot through lanes, as well as a 3-foot subcut for soil corrections. Total estimated costs hover at $325,639.62.

Footing the bill

For the 2020 summary of proposed street improvements, Sonmor said, the estimated total cost stands at $3,119,413.99 -- of which, 23.5% or $732,913.61 will be funded via special assessments to adjacent properties; 21.9% or $682,157.05 will be funded via state aid funding; and the remaining 54.6% or $1,704,343 will be taken up by the city of Baxter.

  • $260,634.64 for Fairview Road roadway improvements.

  • $325,639.62 for Golf Course Drive roadway improvements.

  • $972,600.81 for Excelsior Drive roadway improvements.

  • $418,969.96 for total storm sewer improvements.

  • $25,915.63 for total water main improvements.

  • $313,990.19 for total streetlight improvements.

  • $28,915.63 for total traffic signal improvements.

  • $390,134.42 for trail improvements from Excelsior Road to Fairview Road.

  • $383,493.57 for the Oakwood Drive trail.

Assessments will cover 100% of reconstruction costs up to 44-feet of street width in commercial areas, while beyond 44-feet will be paid by the city. All costs for trailers, traffic signals, street lighting, storm sewer, water main and sanitary sewer will be shouldered by the city.

  • In terms of the Excelsior Road reconstruction, of the $972,600.81 bill the city will take up $504,223.87 and $468,376.94 will be assessed to property owners at $157.87 per linear foot.

  • For the Fairview Road project, the city will foot $172,720.03 (including 700 feet of Highway 210) and $87,914.61 will be assessed to property owners at $125.77 per linear foot.

  • To reconstruct Golf Course Drive, the city will spend $140,775.13 and property owners will pay $184,864.48 at $116.92 per linear foot for a total of $325,639.92.

In terms of the assessed portions of these costs, Sonmor said payments will be collected annually with property taxes starting in 2021, for 12 years, at an interest rate determined when the bonds are sold and certified. Property owners can apply for 2021 deferements by Nov. 15, 2020. Assessment hearings will be hosted in 2020.

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