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Leland Parkway 2020 project set

By Staff | Sep 22, 2019

These two old railroad bridge abutments will not be removed during the Leland Parkway project next year.

The Blue Earth City Council voted last Monday night to proceed with the 2020 Leland Parkway street reconstruction project, which is a joint city, county, state aid project.

The vote came after a public hearing on the proposed project which was held as part of their regular meeting on Monday night.

Approximately 10 property owners along the proposed project route, which includes parts of First Street as well as Leland Parkway (old Highway 16) all the way to the intersection with Highway 169, were at the meeting.

City engineer Wes Brown of Bolton and Menk explained the scope of the project, which includes widening much of Leland Parkway to be a 33-foot wide street.

One part that will be narrowed instead of widened will be by the two bridge abutments which once held a railroad bridge, on the east end of Leland Parkway.

“In order to fit both lanes of traffic and a new pedestrian/bike pathway, it will have to be narrowed at that point,” Brown explained. “That area of the roadway will also be raised, as much as four feet higher, to help with flood mitigation.”

Brown also mentioned that the speed limit on the new road will be 45 miles per hour, all the way from the west to the roundabout on Highway 169.

Another change will be where First Street and Leland Parkway meet. Currently it is a ‘wye’ type of intersection, but it will be reconfigured to be more of a 90 degree intersection, with a right turn lane off Leland Parkway (old Highway 16) as it comes from the west.

“This is for safety reason,” he explained. “Traffic will have to slow down to make that right hand turn.”

After the presentation by city engineer Wes Brown of Bolton and Menk, some of the citizens asked questions about the project. Most of the questions had to do with concerns about access to residences and businesses located along the route during construction.

Business owners and representatives John Hanson (J & J Upholstery), Gary Sunken (G & S Drainage and Excavating) and Norm Hall (KBEW Radio) all expressed their concerns about them and their customers being able to get in and out of their places of business during the construction.

Brown said they will do as much as they can to work with businesses to keep access open as much of the time as possible.

“It might be a gravel access at some times, but we will try to have something in place as much as we can,” he said. “We have not really been able to work on that issue until the construction plan is in place.”

The overall project is estimated to cost $3.65 million, with the county (using state aid highway funds), the city and Blue Earth Light and Water covering the costs.

Of the total amount, property owners along the project route will be assessed for a total of $42,840 for utility service lines to their homes and buildings and $249,969 for 30 percent of the street resurfacing costs. Other costs, such as water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer main lines, as well as a bike/walk trail, will not be assessed.

Construction is expected to run from July through October next year.

In other business at their meeting last Monday night, the council:

Passed a proposed 2020 budget which showed a levy amount of $1.65 million, which would be an 8.6 percent increase over the current year. However, the council also pointed out they plan on working to reduce the amount down to about a 3.5 percent by the time they pass the final budget and levy on Dec. 2.

Voted to have the city attorney proceed with a new animal ordinance pertaining to chickens kept in the city, as per the recommendation of the city’s Planning Commission.