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BE OKs Leland Parkway work

By Staff | Apr 12, 2020

Leland Parkway in Blue Earth will be rebuilt this summer as a joint city/county/state aid project in three stages.

Bituminous or concrete?

That was the big question at the Blue?Earth City Council meeting on Monday, April 6, when the city held a Leland Parkway reconstruction project hearing via teleconference.

At least five members of the public, though not physically at the council meeting, phoned into a teleconference to partake in a public hearing with regard to the Leland Parkway construction project slated to take place this summer.

City engineer Wes Brown of Bolton & Menk led the discussion on the project. He shared the project funding would mostly come from state aid funds, bonding, utility funds, and local property assessments. The preliminary cost estimate of the project, which stretches along County State Aid Highway 16 from Grant Street to Grove Street in Blue Earth, was projected to be close to $4 million.

Existing conditions on Leland Parkway, according to Brown, are poor with signs of distress including alligator cracking, rutting, and potholes on the street surface. The original concrete pavement was placed in 1949 with bituminous overlays for maintenance over the years. The state of the water system on Leland Parkway is also aging, undersized and in poor condition while the storm sewer’s conditions are also poor and failing.

Brown shared the objectives for the project are mainly to improve safety and reliability of the street, decrease maintenance, improve drainage conditions, replace the deteriorating infrastructure, mitigate flood impacts east of the former railroad tracks, and to improve pedestrian and bicycle facilities along the route.

Brown said the project would be completed in three phases to minimize traffic interruption for the city.

Phase one would take place first and stretches from Highway 169 to just west of the Main Street bridge. Phase two is planned to cover from the Main Street bridge to the east side of the First Street entrance, and the third phase would go from the First Street entrance onto Leland Parkway to Grant Street.

The discussion from the council got pretty contentious when the discussion of pavement came into play.

Councilman Dan Warner asked about the city’s joint powers agreement with the county and how it would play into the cost of materials and maintenance, specifically if the city chose bituminous or concrete surfacing for the construction project. County engineer Mark Daly, who was available via teleconference, said it certainly did play into the cost of materials.

In the joint powers agreement, Faribault County would foot two thirds of the bill, estimated around $3 million earlier this year, while Blue Earth would pay the other third, approximately $520,000. The county would be responsible for plowing and striping of the road, while the city would maintain the signs and catch basins.

Warner emphasized the concrete materials currently on Leland Parkway have lasted the city a long time, even though the cost of a concrete street would be higher than bituminous overlay.

“It was my intention from the start to have this project be bituminous,” said Daly. “This project is already $500,000 over our original estimates, and I’m not even sure the county would approve it as is, but if you add an additional $400,000 for concrete, I will make sure the county does not approve it.”

The council also questioned why there was only one bidder on the project. Brown clarified that Ulland Brothers, who were the only bidders for the project, usually work with grading and paving projects, and that is what the majority of this project is.

With promising prices for bituminous costs, and both Brown and Daly encouraging bituminous as well, the council voted to accept the bituminous bid for the project from Ulland Brothers at the cost of $3,256,403. The motion carried five to two, with council members Warner and John Huisman voting no.

In other topics, the Blue Earth City Council also:

Approved an additional food truck site request for Scotty Biggs Food Trailer to set up near Giant Park.

Adjusted Blue Earth Wine & Spirits liquor store hours to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, with store hours remaining the same on the weekend. The new hours will go into effect Monday, April 13.

Rejected a variance request from Chad and Greta Dahlberg, but stated the council would revisit the variance later on. The council also approved of a variance for Loma Roggenkamp for a wooden fence.

Went into closed session to discuss the complaint against city employee David Childs and a proposed resolution of the matter per a Union contract. No action was taken in the closed session. After the closed session, council approved a separation and release document executed by Childs prior to the meeting and passed a motion to take no further action against Childs as it relates to the complaint.

Reentered into closed session to discuss potential litigation issues relating to a Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership contract discussions. No action was taken.

Declared a local emergency on April 6, for up to three days to enter into contracts and perform other duties without following many time-consuming legal procedures normally required, including contracting, employing temporary workers, complying with limitation on tax levies, appropriating and expending public funds, and other points.