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Brainerd City Council: NW 4th St. plans include roundabout, median

The reconstruction would add a roundabout at the intersection of NW 4th Street and Jackson Street (orange dot) and a median at the intersection of James Street (green dot). Graphic: Brainerd Dispatch / Google maps

Another roundabout is on the docket for Brainerd.

The Brainerd City Council on Monday, Jan. 7, approved a proposal for engineering services from Bolton and Menk for a project to reconstruct Northwest Fourth Street from Jackson Street to Washington Street/Highway 210. The reconstruction would add a roundabout at the intersection of Jackson Street and a median at the intersection of James Street.

The project would seek to provide improvements to the road's drivability and access for vehicles, as well as accessibility to pedestrians. The existing storm sewer would be modified in accordance with the proposed alignment changes. Preliminary designs for the project are still in the works.

City engineer Paul Sandy said a traffic study of the Jackson and James intersections completed by Bolton and Menk showed a high crash rate and concluded a roundabout and median would be the best way to mitigate those issues. The Minnesota Department of Transportation reports roundabouts are responsible for reducing 60-90 percent of all right-angle crashes, those typically causing the most severe repercussions.

The project's total projected cost, with engineering services, comes to about $1,376,000. In November, the city received $800,000 worth of funding from the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Local Road Improvement Program for this project. Sandy said city officials discussed a cost-share plan with Crow Wing County for the project, as both entities have similar lengths of road involved. This would equate to the city and county each paying about $288,425 for the project.

The money, Sandy said, would come from state aid funds, and the project would be part of the city's five-year capital improvement plan.

Sandy said he has talked with property owners with land involved in the project, and they are interested in working with the city and will continue communication.

Timeline

Project construction is expected to begin in June 2020 and finish by the end of the summer.

Engineers will complete the road's preliminary designs this spring, and a public information meeting will likely take place the week of April 15. The final project layout will be completed in May-June, with state approval expected to come in August-September. Bids will go out in February 2020, and the project is expected to be awarded in March.

Theresa Bourke

I started at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and the Brainerd School District. I follow city and school board officials as they make important decisions for residents and students and decide how to spend taxpayer dollars. I look for feature story ideas among those I meet and enjoy, more than anything, helping individuals tell their stories and show what makes them unique.

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