Residents give feedback on road construction projects: Work slated for west, southeast Brainerd this year

Road improvement projects are slated for Jackson and Northwest Third streets and for Madison Street and the surrounding area.

The portion of Madison Street between South 10th and Southeast 13th streets will undergo improvements in 2021. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Two major road construction projects are slated in Brainerd this year — one on Northwest Third and Jackson streets and one on Madison Street and the surrounding area.

The Brainerd City Council approved plans for both projects Monday, April 5, and heard from residents near the southeast project.

Madison Street

The southeast project includes improvements Madison Street between South 10th and Southeast 13th streets, as well as:

  • St. Louis and Chicago avenues from Southeast 11th Street to 260 east of Southeast 13th Street.

  • Portland Avenue from 300 west of Southeast 11th Street to 260 feet east of Southeast 13th Street.

  • Rosewood Street from 280 feet west of Southeast 11th Street to Southeast 11th Street.

  • Southeast 15th Street from 230 west of Rosewood Street to Oak Street.

  • Quince Street between Southeast 15th and 16th streets.

  • Southeast 16th Street between Quince and Oak streets.

  • Walnut Street from Breilly Court to Oak Street.

  • Pine Street between Walnut and Beech streets.

The project is a large-scale resurfacing and reconstruction project on streets that have fallen into general disrepair. These streets were all last resurfaced between 1971 and 2001. Some of the streets are completely broken up due to poor soil conditions in the area. On streets like Portland and Chicago, snowplows actually removed portions of the pavement during the last snowfall, City Engineer Paul Sandy said.
Most of the project consists of resurfacing, which is the removal of existing pavement and gravel surface and rebuilding the street from that point. On some streets, crews will perform a subcut, meaning they’ll remove 2 feet of unsuitable soil under the roadway, place separation fabric, replace sand and then put gravel and bituminous material back down to help stabilize the road.

Work includes a multitude of utility improvements, both to the storm sewer and the water main on the streets.


In asking about trees that would have to be torn down for the project, resident Kitty Jacobs noted ome of the trees in the area are likely 100 years old or more.

Madison Street has a storm sewer under the roadway that is coming up out of the pavement due to freezing and thawing and high groundwater conditions, which has caused a majority of the distress on the road.

Sidewalks will be added on portions of Southeast 15th and 16th streets.

Improvements to Madison Street are estimated at $809,918, with about $164,549 of the cost being assessed to property owners.

The rest of the project is estimated at just over $2.5 million, with about $638,964 of the cost being assessed to property owners.

Public comment

Various residents called into the virtual council meeting Monday with questions about and feedback on the project.

Dexter Hanson owns three properties at the end of Rosewood Street, two of which are situated at the dead end after the alley. Hanson said he is not opposed to paying for the assessment on his one property before the alley but said nobody drives or parks on the portion of road beyond, which leads to a bike trail. The alley, Hanson said, does not drain, resulting in standing water and ruts when it rains and thaws. He said he would be willing to pay all three of his assessments if the city would pave the alley.

Sandy said the project could end at the alley, but council member Gabe Johnson said a lot of people do access the trail from there, and he does not want the road to turn back to dirt. Staff agreed to follow up with Hanson, as did council member Tad Erickson, who said he knows Hanson.


Sarah Gorham, who lives on Pine Street, said she wanted to know how much of the wear and tear on her street is due to garbage trucks, as they travel the street at least four times a week, she said, causing noise, air pollution and likely stress on the street.

Kitty Jacobs, who lives on Southeast 15th Street, asked about trees that would have to be torn down for the project. Some of the trees in the area, she said, are likely 100 years old or more. Sandy said the city replaces trees on a 1:1 basis, though they obviously would not be the same as the century-old trees being taken down.

Rosewood Street resident Mike Jay said he is not crazy about the sidewalk on Southeast 15th Street, as it would go right across his driveway, and he has a 25-year-old fence on his property. Sandy said he does not believe the fence will be affected.

Jason Atwater, an employee at Consolidated Telecommunications Company on Madison Street, called in to say he supported the project and emphasized the need for the resurfacing of Madison Street.

Portland Avenue resident David Roufs emailed his comment, saying he and his neighbors do not believe the 1000 block of Portland Avenue needs to be resurfaced when there are many other streets in the city that are in worse shape. Sandy responded to Roufs’ email, noting Portland was proposed to be resurfaced several years ago but was not done, as residents made it clear they did not want it. He explained the city’s methodology with street improvements and added there are also storm sewer infrastructure updates with this project as well.

Northwest Third and Jackson streets

Improvements to Northwest Third and Jackson streets will be done in conjunction with a reconstruction project that will add a roundabout to the intersection of Northwest Fourth and Jackson streets and a median between Washington and Jackson streets.

The portions of street included are Jackson Street between Northwest Third and Fourth streets and Northwest Third Street between James and Jackson Streets.

The existing roadways on Jackson and Northwest Third streets consist of gravel surfacing with no improved drainage systems or curb and gutter. Full water and sanitary sewer utilities already exist and will be brought up to grade during the project.


The portion of Northwest Fourth Street between Jackson and Washington streets in Brainerd is set to be reconstructed in 2021. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

The city tends to spend a lot of maintenance time repairing washouts in the gravel surfacing on these streets multiple times per year after rain events because of the grade of Northwest Third Street and no improved drainage systems or structures. These streets are two of the remaining few gravel surfaced streets in the city.

Staff believes the city needs to consider roadway improvements to Northwest Third and Jackson streets because of the anticipated change in traffic patterns with the reconstruction and added roundabout and median on Northwest Fourth Street.

Improvements include placing curb and gutter to make the streets standard 32-foot-wide paved surfaces to allow for on-street parking on both sides and two 10 1/2 foot wide travel lanes.

The roadway improvements are estimated at $210,679, with about $145,176 of the cost to be assessed to affected property owners.

No one spoke at the public hearing for this project Monday.


The public hearings Monday were strictly to hear comments about the projects themselves and not assessments. Residents will be able to contest assessments at a later date after the projects are bid, which is scheduled to happen in late April and early May.


THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .
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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