LESTER PRAIRIE The path has been cleared for paving a two-mile section of the Dakota Rail Regional Trail from the Carver County line to McLeod County Road 1 in Lester Prairie.
The McLeod County Board, during its meeting June 19, approved the low bid of $718,152 from Structural Specialties of Hutchinson.
The other bids were from RAM Excavating Inc. of Winsted (772,291); Duininck Inc. ($888,884); and C.S. McCrossan Construction of Maple Grove ($1,131,785).
The bid was approved on a 4-1 vote, with commissioners Ron Shimanski, Paul Wright, Joe Nagel, and Rich Pohlmeier in favor; and Commissioner Doug Krueger opposed.
This was the same way the commissioners voted in November when the board accepted a Legacy grant for the project.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the board approved a change order that reduced the scope of the project by $115,484.
The change order included removing some parking lot lighting, and changes to turf establishment and aggregate base.
Engineers were able to adjust the amount of aggregate base material needed, in part, because Lester Prairie already installed 4 inches of Class 5 gravel as part of an earlier trail improvement project.
Last November, McLeod County approved an agreement with the State of Minnesota to accept a Legacy grant for development of the trail.
The county and the City of Hutchinson contributed a local match of $33,000 in the form of in-kind engineering services for the project.
Although the low bid received May 25 was higher than the grant, engineers from the county and the City of Hutchinson reviewed the project and put together the change order that reduced the total so it is less than the grant amount and still allows room for contingencies.
Construction is expected to take place from July to November.
Lester Prairie Community Development Coordinator Adam Birkholz said the construction will not affect the city’s Prairie Days celebration, which will take place Friday to Sunday, July 13 to 15.
The project will include replacement of the bridge between McLeod County Road 9 and Carver County.
Birkholz said the decking materials on the existing bridge are owned by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and will be re-used in another location.
Birkholz previously noted that paving the trail through the city will connect Lester Prairie to Carver and Hennepin counties, and will give trail users access to the city, which will help local businesses.
The trail will also provide an attractive amenity for the city, which will help businesses attract a quality workforce, Birkholz said.