By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN The flow of residents was light, but relatively steady during an open house at Lester Prairie city hall Tuesday.
Residents were able to view maps, ask questions, and express concerns about a proposed Second Avenue South and Pine Street improvement project.
The project is part of a street turnback agreement between the city and McLeod County.
A turnback refers to an arrangement under which a segment of roadway is released by a higher government jurisdiction to a lower one.
In this case, the county would turn over CSAH 23 (First Avenue North and Pine Street North) to the city. the county then plans to redesignate Second Avenue South and Pine Street South from County Road 78 to CSAH 23.
According to project documents, the purpose of a turnback is to apply the proper designation to the roadways. County Road 78 (Second Avenue South) currently has a higher volume of traffic than CSAH 23 (First Avenue North and Pine Street North). In addition, two county roadways running parallel so close together is no efficient. Moving the state aid designation from First Avenue North to Second Avenue South puts the proper designation on the roadways, from a transportation perspective.
The benefit to the city in return for accepting the turnback is that the county has agreed to pay for all of the street and storm sewer upgrades to Second Avenue South and Pine Street South, as well as widening the west end of Second Avenue South.
The county has also agreed to patch and sealcoat First Avenue North.
Generally, the benefit to the city is that the project will be completed sooner, and at county, rather than city, expense.
The project is also expected to alleviate flooding issues on the west end of Second Avenue South, and the addition of a sidewalk along Second Avenue South, where there is significant pedestrian traffic, will be completed with no local funds.
The purpose of the open house was to discuss the preliminary design of the project.
Residents had the opportunity to talk to representatives from the city council, McLeod County, and Bolton & Menk (the city’s engineer).
Most of the comments involved concerns about snow removal from the sidewalk that would be added as part of the project.
Bolton & Menk will compile written comment cards that were submitted during the meeting and prepare a summary for the city council.
If things go as planned, the project will move forward on the following schedule:
• Preliminary design items (easement acquisition, utility coordination, county coordination) will take place this summer.
• Preparation of plans and specifications will be completed fall/winter 2012-13.
• Advertising and bidding, winter 2013.
• Award project, spring 2013.
• Construction, May-August 2013.
• Final paving, miscellaneous repair and restoration, summer 2014.
Affected residents will be kept informed of progress as the project proceeds.
Anyone who has questions or concerns, but was unable to attend the open house, may contact City Engineer Jake Saulsbury at (952) 448-8838, ext. 2397, or firstname.lastname@example.org.