Lake, Fourth streets on project list
FAIRMONT — It has been said that Minnesota has two seasons: winter and road construction. A glance out your window will tell you what season we’re experiencing now, but in a few short months, road construction season will kick into high gear in Fairmont.
The City Council this week reviewed a proposed $6 million worth of 2019 street improvements, with two significant stretches, Lake Avenue and Fourth Street, making the list. The council set a public hearing for 5:30 p.m. March 25 at City Hall to allow property owners to weigh in on the projects, which include 5.3 miles of new pavement or sealcoat.
“There will be a full presentation that night, talking about more specifics and talking about the assessment process in a little more detail,” said Troy Nemmers, city engineer/public works director.
Actual construction on Lake Avenue, from Downtown Plaza to Fourth Street, will not start until 2020 although the project appears on this year’s list because of the bonding process.
“This will be a full reconstruct with curb and gutter, sidewalk, looking at the intersections with Main Street and Downtown Plaza. This is a significant project,” said Nemmers, adding that the engineering firm of Bolton & Menk has been hired to assist with the design plans. “We’re going to have more significant public input on the process due to pedestrian accessibility requirements as well as the configuration of the intersections as it turns from Blue Earth Avenue to Lake Avenue in front of the (Profinium) bank.”
Council members asked if Lake Avenue will be reconstructed in its existing pattern without closing off any streets as was suggested many years ago.
“I’m not going to say no to anything because a lot of options are on the table,” Nemmers said. “Are we going to close off a street? Are we going to look at a roundabout? Are we going to put in new traffic signals? Are we going to move some driveway intersections to try to accommodate better flow on Lake Avenue? Those are all going to be part of the preliminary evaluation starting this month. We’re going to do some traffic analysis, looking significantly at that corridor to Park Street and looking at that (traffic) signal as part of this evaluation.
“All those items are going to be on the table, and we will be having some public meetings to discuss those and look at some proposed alternatives,” he said.
The other full reconstruction project on the list, Winnebago Avenue from Highway 15 east to the gravel surface, was moved up to this year when Fairmont was awarded a $1 million state grant to improve a road that would make an area more attractive to development. The project will include resurfacing, repairing the sanitary sewer, installing a new water main, some new storm sewer, adding curb and gutter and widening the road from Marcus Street east.
The two full reconstruction projects total $4.6 million, but only $1.7 million of local funds are needed due to state aid and the grant.
The Fourth Street overlay project will run from Prairie Avenue to Highway 15, putting a new surface on top of infrastructure that might date back to the 1940s.
“At some point, you need to address the ride, but there is still old infrastructure underneath,” Nemmers said. “How far can funds go? If we waited until we could do a reconstruct, it’s four to six years out. This will address the ride concerns that are currently on Fourth, and we’ll address every intersection for ADA improvements as well as sidewalk along there that doesn’t meet ADA requirements now.”
Two other projects are on the overlay list: Albion Avenue from Lake Aires Road to Interlaken Road and the Day Farm trail from Hengen Street to the new pavement.
Resurfacing is planned for Burton Lane from South Perimeter Drive to North Perimeter Drive, Lynn Street from the dead end to East Interlaken Road, and city parking lot F at the corner of Lake Avenue and Blue Earth Avenue (behind the Human Services building).
Plans also include seal coating East Third Street from Prairie Avenue to the dead end, West Third Street from Beach Street to Lake Avenue, Camelot Court from Home Street to the dead end, Cardinal Street from Charles Street to Highway 15, downtown city parking lot A at Second Street and Main Street, Elm Street from First Street to the dead end, Eltinge Place from the dead end to Interlaken Road, Joe Burns trail from Hall Street to the aquatic park, Lair Road from Shoreacres Drive to Albion Avenue, North Avenue from Margaret Street to the bridge, Oxford Street from Victoria Street to Willow Street, and Park Street from Budd Street to Blue Earth Avenue.