Plans for road construction and traffic changes at Foley Road, Isle Drive and Forthun Road will be the subject of a special Baxter City Council session at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7.
The project is expected to cost $5,597,120.
For years, Baxter officials have planned moving the signal intersection at Knollwood Drive to the east and creating a new crossing at Inglewood to create a north/south corridor west of Highway 371. It was part of a beltway vision for alternative traffic flow in the city beyond the mainstay of Highway 371. And it is also part of redefining the city’s traffic connection to its other main artery of Highway 210, which is the main corridor for east/west traffic through the city.
Moving the Knollwood intersection would mean eliminating that railroad crossing and making Foley Road a more substantial player in the traffic corridor.
A 10-foot wide paved multipurpose trail is on the south side of Foley Road. New best practices from the Minnesota Department of Transportation now want to have a buffer between traffic lanes and trails so the plan calls for a 5-foot grass boulevard. In a report to the city from Bolton & Menk, proposed improvements call for a 26-foot wide Foley Road — narrowed from 30 feet now to make room for a new boulevard by the trail — along with work on the watermain and sanitary sewer. There would be a curb on the southside of Foley Road with a rural ditch on the north. The trail would remain in the same spot as it is now so as to not remove more trees than needed for the drainage and utilities.
A 22-foot wide frontage road is proposed to serve Perch Lake properties.
A mini-roundabout would replace the T-intersection at Isle Drive and Forthun Road with a realignment of that section.
The intersection at Knollwood Drive and Foley Road would be realigned to get a classic T-intersection. A study found the volumes and speed there do not warrant turn lanes.
Since 2020, the city policy for a developed neighborhood caps the assessment at $15,000 per equivalent residential unit with future years raising that cost by 3% inflation, meaning the 2022 assessment for water, sewer and street is capped at $15,913. Foley Road has 19 residential units. The city is expecting to pay for 77% of the costs or $4,290,594 while assessments are responsible for bringing in $1,306,526 or 23% of the estimated costs.
The city council looked at the project during a Sept. 21 workshop session.
“My comment is I have a little indigestion,” council member Mark Cross said of the 77% cost for the city, adding he knows the project area is a little different with limited assessments.
Council member Zach Tabatt questioned whether the 26-foot width design was as narrow as they could go. The driving lanes will be 11-feet and the engineers thought it was minimized as much as possible.
Assessments would have a 15-year term for residential properties and a 12-year term for commercial with an interest rate to be determined. There are hardship deferments for residential homesteads for senior citizens, disability and active military duty based on qualifying income.
After the hearing Thursday, the schedule has the city council looking at a decision on the road project on Oct. 19 that would open for bidding in December. An assessment hearing is expected in February of 2022 with the potential to award a contract in April. Another public information would be expected in April and construction would be expected to begin in May and continue through October.