Baxter greenlights pilot project for innovative road repair method

Public Works Director Trevor Walter said micro-surfacing has a promising track record as a quick and relatively painless fix for some damaged roadways, but the question remains if it can handle freeze/thaw cycles through the colder months in the city of Baxter.

Clearwater Road between Lyndale Drive to Inglewood Drive Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Baxter. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

During its meeting Tuesday, June 15, the Baxter City Council greenlit a pilot initiative to see if innovative micro-surfacing techniques could be used to patch up Baxter roadways through the freeze/thaw cycles of colder months.

With a unanimous vote, council members approved engineering services with engineering-architectural firm Bolton & Menk for the 2021 micro-surfacing pilot project, with the stipulation costs will not exceed the amount of $17,800. Describing the technology as “out of the ordinary,” Public Works Director Trevor Walter noted the plan is to launch the project this summer so staffers can see if micro-surfacing techniques are sustainable through the harsher winter months, when freeze/thaw cycles and frigid conditions often undermine roadway patch-ups.

“As we’re changing this plan, we’re going to know by the spring of next year, through one freeze/thaw cycle, does it hold?” said Walter, who noted micro-surfacing could be implemented into the city’s five-year capital improvements plan. “Hopefully, we’ll do it by the end of August. There’s maybe some road that this could work.”

"Let’s try it, see if we can get something moving forward, because the streets are just getting older. ... It’s whatever we can do to help refurbish them to a new state."

— Baxter City Council member Mark Cross


Portions of streets identified for the project are Clearwater Road from Lyndale Drive to Inglewood Drive, as well as Inglewood Drive from Excelsior Road to Woida Road. Walter said these older streets, both of which are older than 17 years, present viable candidates to see if micro-surfacing can extend the life of these streets amid the pressures of a Minnesota winter.

As the city looks to update its pavement management program and discontinue its current practice of chip sealing, staffers are looking at micro-surfacing as a more effective means to fix cracks, ruts, potholes and other roadway damage and do so in way that’s much faster than traditional techniques that require the sun or heat to harden the material.

Micro-surfacing consists of a mixture of water, asphalt emulsion, aggregate — or, very small crushed rocks — and chemical additives. Polymer is often added to the asphalt emulsion to provide better mixture properties. Because the chemical properties of micro-surfacing allow it to harden and adhere to the surface rapidly, often in less than an hour, it means traffic stoppages and road closures are less likely to occur while crews repair city roadways.

Walter said micro-surfacing has a promising track record in other communities — notably, Little Falls — for extending the life of old roadways by as much as a decade or more in some cases.

“Let’s try it, see if we can get something moving forward, because the streets are just getting older,” said council member Mark Cross, who notes the city has roadway resurfacing funds that remain unused for the last three years. “It’s whatever we can do to help refurbish them to a new state.”

In other business, the council:

Approved resolutions that allow preliminary and final plat of “Goble Way,” or a list of variances that would create two lots with buildable areas and side lot lines out of the current property at 3734 Cedar Scenic Road.

Approved a conditional use permit to expand an existing legally nonconforming home on Whipple Lake at a property on 14378 Shoreview Drive. The variance allows the property owner to demolish an existing detached garage and sidewalk leading to the home, whereupon plans are to replace these with home/garage addition within a 100-foot setback required by city statutes that would be waived in this instance.


Approved an agreement for stormwater facilities maintenance with First National Bank at its location at 14521 Edgewood Drive. First National Bank has plans for a building expansion and will be expanding its stormwater pond to the northwest of its parking lot as a result of this expansion. All new developments and redevelopments are required to enter a legal binding agreement with the city.

Approved agreements for development agreement and stormwater facilities maintenance with Wings Financial Credit Union to construct a new location on an outlot near Costco, north of the CentraCare Clinic. The site would represent a design unique to Wings Financial Credit Union, which is looking to establish a distinctive appearance connected to its company brand. Discussion revolved around the proposed height and sign of the new credit union’s designs, which would be taller than city statutes allow. Representatives of the credit union noted the roof’s sloping design is integrated into the rest of the structure and, thus, wouldn’t pose the risk of coming off in high wind conditions as a normal roof would.

RELATED: Biz Buzz: Credit union seeks to build branch by Costco just off Highway 371
Approved a pay estimate in the amount of $140,521.45 to R L Larson Excavating Inc. for the 2020 South Interceptor, North Forestview improvements and North Forestview stormwater improvements project.
Approved a contract amendment not to exceed $18,086 to be paid to Bolton & Menk for the 2022 Inglewood Drive railway crossing and improvements project.

Approved plans and authorized city staffers to advertise bids for the 2021 Lift Station No. 14 reconstruction project.

Accepted a bid from Holden Electric Co. in the amount of $119,105.32 to complete the Highway 210 street lighting improvements project. The project involves the construction of new street lights at the intersection of Meredith and Memorywood drives on Highway 210.

Approved an amendment of the 2021 water interconnect building improvements project budget from $76,000 to $110,000.

Approved the sale of a 2013 Ford Interceptor sedan. The Interceptor was previously a Baxter Police Department vehicle and has been decommissioned.

Approved a permit to sell fireworks to TNT Fireworks. The permit represents an interim agreement in which TNT Fireworks is permitted to have outdoor firework sales from a tent located at Westside Liquors for the period of June 19 through July 6.


Approved the sale of a John Deere 400x loader on the state of Minnesota auction site. With the purchase of a new 2021 John Deere loader for the Parks Department, the city is selling the 2008 model.

Approved a lawful gambling permit for the Nisswa Women’s Club to conduct gambling on July 15 at the Northland Arboretum.

GABRIEL LAGARDE may be reached at or 218-855-5859. Follow at .

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