NE 5th Ave., B Street slated for construction this summer

Brainerd City Engineer Paul Sandy (right) and Assistant Engineer James Fladung explain the construction plan on Northeast Fifth Avenue and B Street to city council member Kelly Bevans during an open house Tuesday, Feb. 4. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

The city of Brainerd is in the design phase for construction projects on a number of northeast Brainerd streets set to take place early this summer.

The project aims to improve driving surfaces, promote better street drainage with new curb, gutter and stormwater systems and improve walkability with sidewalk gaps filled in.

Fifth Avenue Northeast is set to be reconstructed in its current footprint from Washington Street to D Street, with the removal of all existing driveway approaches, curb and blacktop. The street will remain the same width and will maintain on-street parking spaces. Minor storm sewer and water main work will be done as well.

The same scope of work will be done on B Street between Gillis Avenue and Fifth Avenue Northeast.

B, C and D streets will be reconstructed from Fifth Avenue Northeast up to the East Brainerd Mall private property, with new curb and gutter, stormwater improvements, water main replacement and new surfacing.


A detour to the East Brainerd Mall will likely use First Avenue Northeast and E Street.

On Fourth Avenue Northeast, an incomplete sidewalk on the east side of the road between Washington and C streets will be completed and upgraded to American with Disabilities Act standards. This project segment will also include some spot curb and driveway replacements.

The same scope of work will be done on an incomplete sidewalk on Gillis Avenue between Washington and B streets. No trees are expected to be removed with the project.

Frequently asked questions

Few residents and business owners showed to an informational open house on the project Tuesday, Feb. 4, at the Brainerd Fire Department, but those who did were able to speak with Engineer Paul Sandy and Assistant Engineer James Fladung. The engineering department also provided informational pamphlets to those who attended.

Access to driveways during construction

During construction, the contractor will always try to maintain access to properties and driveways. Access will be limited for up to a week when the new curb is replaced and may also be limited when new utilities are being installed. The construction crews in each area will notify residents anytime their driveways will not be accessible for a longer period of time.

Parking will still be allowed on the street when the contractor is not working.

Will water be shut off?


Short-term water shut-offs will take place to connect new water services to certain residences. The contractor on site will coordinate with residences prior to shut-offs and make sure their needs are met.

Will mail service be affected?

Property owners whose mailbox is located within the construction limits will have temporary mailboxes set up. A flyer will be dropped off in the affected mailboxes to notify residents where to pick up their mail during construction.

Will garbage be affected?

The contractor will be responsible for coordinating with garbage companies if garbage service will be interrupted. Residents will be notified of any garbage service changes.

Will driveways be restored?

Driveway approaches replaced during construction will be reconstructed with the same material as before. Access to concrete driveways will be limited for up to a week when the concrete is replaced.

Will lawns be restored?


Any lawn areas disturbed during construction will be replaced as part of the project. The contractor will be responsible for establishing grass and watering lawns for the first 30 days, although residents are encouraged to help with watering as well to shorten construction time.

What will happen to landscaping, fences or planters in the right of way?

Any objects in the right of way other than mailboxes will need to be removed so they are not damaged during construction. Objects not allowed in the right of way in city ordinance, such as fences, will not be allowed to be placed back in the right of way.

What if properties have sprinkler or pet containment systems?

Residence with sprinkler or pet containment systems near the curbline should notify the city prior to construction. The city will determine if they will conflict with construction and notify property owners, who will then be responsible for removing the systems. Construction crews will not be responsible for any damage done to sprinklers or pet containment systems that are in the right of way.

Cost and assessments

Sandy estimated the project to cost about $1.2 million, but the final cost will not be determined until April 6, when the city council will have an improvement hearing and either approve or oppose the project. Sandy hopes to get approval to solicit bids at that time so a contractor can be retained in May and the work can commence in June and July.

According to the city’s assessment policy, property owners will be assessed for half of the resurfacing or reconstruction costs on council-authorized reconstruction projects such as this one. They will be assessed on either a front foot or per lot basis, with the city covering the other half of the cost. Property owners will not be assessed for utility work, such as sanitary sewer or water main upgrades.

The city does not typically assess for new sidewalks, but may assess for the entire cost of repairs.


Property owners within the project area will receive letters with their preliminary assessment rates in March. Assessments will not be finalized until the project is finished, and an assessment hearing will take place in the fall.

One resident who lives on Fifth Avenue Northeast expressed concern about being assessed the same amount as businesses, which may rely on deliveries from semitrailers and other larger vehicles that can be harder on the road and may profit from customers driving on the roads, too.

Sandy said the city does not typically change assessment rates for different property types.

For more information on this project, visit or contact Sandy at 218-828-2307 or .

Note: This story was updated Feb. 6 to note Fifth Avenue NE will be reconstructed to D Street, not B Street as was originally written.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at . eresa .
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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