Blue Earth looks at streets

Several different current and future street projects were discussed at Monday night’s Blue Earth City Council.

City engineer Wes Brown of Bolton and Menk gave the council a first look at the project being planned for next year, 2020 – a reconstruction of Leland Parkway.

The project is actually a Faribault County Highway Department project, with some assistance from both the city of Blue Earth and Blue Earth Light and Water.

“The overall project is estimated to cost $3.7 million,” Brown said. “The bulk of the cost will be covered by the county’s state aid highway funding.”

The city of Blue Earth will be covering $227,281 with some of that cost being for storm sewer and the rest for a new trail that will run the length of Leland Parkway.

“The total cost of the trail is $247,600,” Brown said. “But county engineer Mark Daly has offered to have the county cover half that cost.”

Part of the trail is also being covered by a Safe Routes to Schools grant, as well.

The cost of the Leland Parkway project for Blue Earth Light and Water is $390,710 and is for water mains and new street lighting.

The council accepted the preliminary plan for the project and voted to accept the offer from the county for helping with the cost of the trail.

They also voted to hold a required public hearing on the proposed Leland Parkway 2020 project at 5:05 p.m. on Sept. 16 at the Ag Center.

Brown also gave an update on this year’s street construction work, the Sailor Street Project.

“Holtmeier Construction is back in town and starting on phase 3 of the project,” Brown said. “It will take them three weeks to get this phase of the project completed.”

Brown also brought up an issue with driveways at the Sailor Street Project. Some of the garages in the neighborhood did not have driveways and residents were asking about putting in driveway entrances off the street, or having wider entrances than they did before.

The council acted on the requests on a case-by-case basis, but also decided to ask the Street Committee to develop a new policy for this type of situation.

Brown also informed the council the finish coat of pavement in the new housing development is expected to be applied this week.

The council also looked at a new five year street reconstruction plan presented from the Street Committee.

Using funds from the new city-wide sales tax, the new plan calls for a more aggressive amount of street work being done in the next five years.

The total of the projects would be around $16.5 million over the next five years.

“By the time we get done with this plan, we would have 80 percent to 90 percent of the streets in town finished,” mayor Rick Scholtes said. “Yes it would be a lot of money, but we can afford to do this and it would be worth it to get it done.”

In other business, the council used their work session before the regular meeting to take a tour of the recently completed 2-year wastewater treatment plant reconstruction project. Several members of the public were also on the tour.