A segment of Woida Road bordered by largely undeveloped land will wait for more than a pavement overlay until development warrants the cost.
That was the Baxter City Council consensus during a workshop session Wednesday, Nov. 4. Aric Welch, consulting engineer with Widseth, presented additional roadway options to the council via a Zoom session.
In October, the city council discussed options for the section of Woida Road from a pavement overlay to a street reconstruction with extension of sewer and water. While there was agreement on the poor existing condition of the 31-year-old road, there were differing opinions expressed on what to do next. When Crow Wing County, with plans to work on nearby streets, approached the city with a cost-sharing plan to add Woida Road to the mix, the city examined what it would cost to repave the street as well as put in sewer and water.
Wednesday’s workshop provided an opportunity to hear additional options.
“Right now staff is not recommending extension of sanitary sewer and water to service the area,” Welch said, noting the corridor is mostly undeveloped with just four existing homes, one of which already has water and sewer. “We don’t have any idea how that is going to develop in the future. Housing needs may change and may result in rezoning and denser development. And all those changes might lead to different roadway layouts, different sanitary sewer layouts and even different trail and pedestrian options.”
Welch said they also looked at bike routes or pedestrian options planned for that section.
“During the development of that study it was noted this is a missing route that really fit into the long range plan for the city,” Welch said, adding a shared use path is recommended for that roadway.
Option 1: Basic resurfacing for $120,000 expected cost to be split with the city paying 75% and the county paying 25%. The city cost is estimated to be $90,000 or $3,215 per equivalent residential unit. The county would run the project. The road would be expected to last 12-15 years.
Option 2: Full depth reclamation for a 24-foot wide existing roadway is estimated to cost $230,000, with a cost split 75% to the city and 25% to the county in a cost-sharing policy. The city cost is expected to be $170,720 with a $6,097 cost per equivalent residential unit. The county would run the project.
Option 3: Full depth reclamation and widen road to 26 feet at an estimated cost of $270,000. With the cost sharing, the city cost is expected to be $211,460 as the city pays the full cost of widening the roadway. Assessments would be capped at $6,180 with the remaining cost for the city paying $38,420. The city would need to run the project and do the design and then could hand off the project to the county or the city could bid it out separately.
Option 4: Full depth reclamation, widen road to 32 feet (11-foot drive lanes and 5-foot bike lanes) at a cost of $433,000. With the cost sharing, the city’s portion is expected to be $374,23. Assessments would be capped at $6,180 per equivalent residential unit. Remaining cost for the city would be $201,100.
Welch noted local road improvement program funding may be available. The city would need to apply for the funding but Welch said this project may not rank as high as other projects such as collector roads.
Staff recommended going with option 1 because of the lack of development currently and without knowing the direction development may go in the future. Staff also stated bike and pedestrian facilities are not warranted at this time. The recommendation to the city was to wait until a project-driven development triggers sewer, water, roadway and trail improvements.
Welch said sewer and water needs to go in sometime in the future, but it is just a guess when that will be needed.
Todd Holman, council member and vice mayor, presided over the meeting in Mayor Darrel Olson’s absence. Holman said it may take 12-15 years, or a repaved road’s lifetime, before development would occur. Council member Zach Tabatt favored Option 1.
Tabatt said he also would like to hear staff and engineer thoughts on road widths in a larger overall discussion at some point on residential roads. “I’m not yet convinced there is a good reason to increase the width of a road that goes into a dead end or has a 30 mph speed limit,” Tabatt said. He added keeping the road on the narrow side and having a separated trail serves safety and keeps down city costs for the road project.
Council member Mark Cross said he agreed with Tabatt and staff recommendation for Option 1.
“There is no use putting the facilities in there when it is not warranted at this point,” Cross said.
Council member Connie Lyscio agreed.
“I think we have unanimous consensus supporting Option 1,” Holman said.
How it started
Crow Wing County was looking at doing four other roads in the area and proposed to split the cost 25% county and 75% to the city. The city decided to look at the cost of a street project with sewer and water before making a decision.
Baxter City Council members heard the review on the 2021 Woida Road improvements feasibility report during a workshop session Oct. 20.
The project area is for Woida Road starting at the intersection of Lynndale and Garrett lanes and extending east to Inglewood Drive. Zoning for the area is residential. The 24-foot wide road was constructed in 1989 and by measuring standards is in very poor condition, Welch reported.
Extending water and sewer west means clearing trees to put in a 26-foot road with 18-inch ditches and to have a 33-foot road corridor.
Cost is estimated to be $1.8 million. Broken down, those costs were $489,535 for water, $814,090 for sanitary sewer and $543,440 for roadway improvements. For this project, assessments for benefitting properties would be $4,635 for water, $4,635 for sanitary sewer and $6,180 for the roadway.
The city could assess $613,530 or about 33% of the project and have a city cost of $1,238,335 or nearly 67% of the project. Initial city costs would be $1.4 million with one parcel outside of the city limits now requiring an annexation or agreement with that property owner.