Baxter street project plan moves on to June 21 meeting

BAXTER--One of the largest single street projects, affecting the most residents in at least a decade, took another step toward a possible July start.


BAXTER-One of the largest single street projects, affecting the most residents in at least a decade, took another step toward a possible July start.

About 30 people attended an assessment hearing Monday night at Baxter City Hall. Mayor Darrel Olson said the work follows a 2013 pavement management study the city commissioned. Pavement conditions on 85 miles of streets were assessed and rated. In addition, the study looked at what streets needed immediate attention and what maintenance work could be done on others from fresh pavement to a full-depth reclamation-basically taking the street to bare ground and starting over.

Olson said the effort is based on saving the roads that can be saved with active seal coating program designed to extend the life of the pavement for many years.

"That's the goal here anyway," Olson said.

Olson was joined by council members Todd Holman and Quinn Nystrom. Council members Steve Barrows and Mark Cross were traveling out of state.


Aric Welch, consulting engineer with Widseth Smith Nolting, provided an overview of the project's history.

Three project areas, residential projects across multiple areas and two commercial sections-on Clearwater and Woida roads-are included along with separate project of a turn lane from College Road onto Cypress Drive.

The total project cost was estimated to be $1.3 million. The city received two bids. The winning bid has not yet been awarded. The low bid came from Tri-City Paving of Little Falls coming in at $1.1 million, about $250,000 lower than anticipated.

That means assessments also decreased about $750 per lot to $2,348. Welch said some property owners may get more than one assessment if they own land that can be subdivided or if they own more than one lot, but there are not many in that category. The project area covers 277 assessable lots. Welch said 100 percent of the project is being assessed, with the city and the Brainerd School District also paying for property. The city is paying for land at Southdale Park, Baxter Cemetery and Oscar Kristofferson Park. The school district is being assessed for land on Maplewood Drive.

For the commercial projects, the total estimated project cost for the commercial work is $281,272. The city is paying $60,249 for full-depth reclamation on Woida Road from Highway 371 to Dellwood Drive. The cost is estimated at $67.76 per foot or a $10 savings from what was estimated earlier.

Council members and staff answered questions and heard concerns from residents. The city council is expected to make a decision on the project at its June 21 meeting. If the council approves the project, construction could begin in July and be completed in late August. The project specifications call for the work to be completed by Labor Day weekend.

Assessments may be carried for seven years for mill and overlay work and for 12 years for full-depth reclamation at an estimated 4.75 percent interest. The final interest rate will be determined when the bonds are actually sold.

The city allows for age, disability, and active military deferments based on income. The deadline to apply is Aug. 31 of each year.


Welch said the council went with the pavement management plan because its streets are aging and nearing a 30-year lifecycle when maintenance needs to increase. Welch said streets were chosen for this project now in order to extend the pavement life and lower future rehabilitation costs.


Resident concerns

Residents asked how long the streets are expected to last after this mill and overlay project and what seal coating will cost in the future. Welch said the hope is to get another 20 years out of the pavement. The city picks up the cost of the seal-coating program.

Residents asked how the project will work with their private irrigation systems for lawns. Baxter Public Works Director Trevor Walter said the city will work with residents with irrigation systems, asking them to mark sprinkler heads and make every effort to avoid impacting them. Topsoil is planned to be put on shoulders going out 12 inches to 3 feet and sprayed to reseed.

Several residents questioned the construction timing and if they would have full access to get in and out of their homes. Walter said with this project driveway access should be available except for limited times, perhaps 15 minutes when the machinery is grinding up the pavement at the driveway access and about an hour when the pavement is being set. Walter said construction crews typically wait until most people have left for work in the morning. Construction crews are expected to talk to residents the night before driveway access may be limited. Otherwise the mill and overlay projects are done with work on one lane of traffic at a time, allowing vehicles to continue to pass crews. Flaggers will help manage the traffic.

"It sounds inconvenient, but it's really not, it's really a pretty easy process," Walter said.

One gentleman asked if something could be done so the drop for the manhole covers wouldn't create such a bump. Welch said there is a provision to adjust the manhole covers to the new pavement height with a recess of one-quarter to three-quarters of an inch. Because of snowplowing equipment, the manholes cannot be flush with the pavement.


If residents wanted to challenge the assessment value, they had to do so in writing at Monday's meeting.

Other questions involved options to pay assessments. If the project is approved on June 21, residents who pay in full within 30 days will not incur interest.


What to expect

For residential projects in the mill and overlay area, the project will mill or grind off the first inch of pavement and put more back on. The full-depth reclamation projects grind up the entire roadway, mixes into the sand bed and then puts a fresh 4 inches of pavement.

With this project, Welch said swales, which can be described as shallow ditches, will be used as a drainage remedy for areas with ponding on roadways. The swales have a gradual slope for easier mowing and a depth of a 12 inches to 18 inches. Walter described a swale as being more like a bowl. Swales are planned in several locations and work on them is typically done first before the street construction.

In some cases driveway restorations may be needed but Welch said for the most part the work will be going past driveways and leaving them alone.

Cedardale Lane is expected to have swales at intersection of Norway Drive and an Americans with Disabilities Act pedestrian curb ramp will be added on the east end of Cedardale Lane.


On Maplewood, west of Forestview Middle School, plans call for curb and gutter installation at an existing stormwater drainage site.

Commercial improvements on Clearwater Road are expected to include curb and gutter replacement. The project calls for the removal of the entrance that served Bonanza and moving it farther east. Plans also include adding left-hand turn lane striping on Clearwater. Work on Woida Road is expected to be similar to Clearwater with no change to striping proposed.

Welch said the work on the mill and overlay should put the streets back up to nearly new condition with the city's seal-coating program designed to help further extend the pavement life.

Cost breakdowns are $7 per foot for seal coating, $50 per foot for mill and overlay, and $174 per foot for a full-depth reclamation.

"That's why the city is doing this now to try to save money over time," Welch said.


What's next?

If the project is approved June 21, the city will host an informational meeting on the project during the week of June 27 with the contractor represented.




RENEE RICHARDSON, associate editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or . Follow on Twitter at .

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