Cypress Drive corridor project garners two engineering excellence awards
The $17 million project represents years of work and a potential alternative to Highway 371 that looks to alleviate traffic pressure along the Baxter strip.
BAXTER — After touting its completion as a step forward that will positively change the landscape of the Brainerd lakes area, Baxter city officials can now say the Cypress Drive corridor is an award-winning construction project — twice over.
During the Baxter City Council meeting Tuesday, Feb. 4, City Administrator Brad Chapulis announced the city had been honored with two awards for engineering excellence for the Cypress Drive corridor improvements project completed last year.
The first, a Grand Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies, recognized the project as among 10 winners selected from only 30 applicants by their judging panel. Winners at the state level are eligible to submit the project for consideration by the national organization.
The second identified the Cypress Drive corridor improvements project as the “2019 project of the year” by the City Engineers Association of Minnesota.
“Both of those awards are a recognition of the complexity of this project, as well as the coordination and collaboration that needed to be done,” Chapulis said. “I'd like to give congratulations to Scott Hedlund, our project engineer, as well as Trevor (Walter), our city engineer, and our engineering staff, for their good work, as well as those that were else affiliated with the project, including representatives at the state level, who provided unwavering support.”
With its development going back decades and constructed over 2018-2019, the Cypress Drive corridor improvements project connected Cypress Drive north to Woida Road and then to Wise Road and south to Highland Scenic Drive, also known as County Highway 48. In doing so, the new roadway serves as a parallel corridor to Highway 371, particularly for local traffic versus people passing through the Baxter strip.
It was intended to improve access to the city's industrial park to the south of Highway 210, shorten local trips, increase options for pedestrians and bicycle riders, and give local traffic an alternative to the bustling Highway 371. In addition, speakers hailed the project’s completion as an economic boon for the area. All in all, the initiative cost over $17 million to build, funds brought together from local, state and federal sources.
Council member Mark Cross was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.
In other business, the council:
Renewed a 2017 Joint Powers Agreement with the Minnsota Bereau of Criminal Apprehension’s Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force. The Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force is a statewide task force specifically created by the BCA to address human and sex trafficking investigations.
Amended the 2020 Capital Equipment Fund Budget by adding $123,000 for the purchases of a 3/4-ton truck and a one-ton truck for the Public Works Department originally budgeted in 2019.
Approved the purchase of preliminary breath test equipment from the Alcohol Forfeiture Fund to replace aging units ranging from five to 10 years old for just under $3,000.
Approved putting up a pressure washer and hydraulic press on the State of Minnesota Auction site. Currently, these two pieces of equipment are not currently in use by the city of Baxter.
Adopted a resolution ordering preparation of assessments for the 2020 Oakwood Drive Trail, Fairview Road, Golf Course Drive, Excelsior Road, and Excelsior Trail Improvements Project, as well as a public hearing on proposed assessments for the 2020 Oakwood Drive Trail, Fairview Road, Golf Course Drive, Excelsior Road and Excelsior Trail Improvements projects.
Convened a closed session to acquire properties related to the 2020 South Interceptor project, including an easement at the Highland Scenic Road property of David and Pearl Greaver for $4,600; Minneapolis Area Investments, LLC, or an easement valued at $12,000, with the conditions the city shall restore the property to the original condition prior to construction and the utility easement shall only apply to the water main being installed as part of the project; as well as the Aspen Ridge Townhomes Association easement on 12941 Berrywood Drive for $2,500.
In addition, during closed session the council voted to authorize eminent domain to acquire real property interest for the 2020 Oakwood Drive Trail, Fairview Road, Golf Course Drive, Excelsior Road, and Excelsior Trail Improvements Project.
Lastly, during closed session the council accepted an offer from Bill’s Gun Shop & Range Brainerd for an easement at 7609 Excelsior Road for $2,800.
GABRIEL LAGARDE may be reached at email@example.com or 218-855-5859. Follow at www.twitter.com/glbrddispatch .