Independence accepts bid for unclogging lake channel

The Independence City Council Tuesday, Aug. 27, approved a $49,150 bid from Sunram Construction for excavation and removal of vegetation from the Lake Independence outlet channel — a project that is expected to lower the water level in the lake.

Independence was the first of four project partners to look at the bids. Three Rivers Park District, the city of Medina and the Pioneer Sarah Creek Watershed Commission now must approve the bid because they would share costs with the city of Independence.

Independence City Councilor Brad Spencer reported that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources had approved the vegetation removal permit earlier in the day.

Project Engineer Craig Jochum of Hakanson Anderson received bids from three prospective contractors and recommended Sunram. Bids ranged from Sunram’s low bid to the highest bid of $138,250 from Veit & Company. Mini Dredge’s proposal came in at $50,300.

Three Rivers Parks would be the last of the four project partners to approve the low bid on Sept. 19. Construction is scheduled to begin on Sept. 30 and end on Oct. 15.

Spencer expected total cost of the vegetation removal project to be $56,774.60, give or take 10 percent. The total cost includes $7,624.60 in administrative costs, such as permit fees, developing plans and specifications, letting of bids, purchasing of easements and permitting and public hearing expenses.

The watershed commission would pay 10 percent of total costs ($5,677.46) and Three Rivers Parks 11.2 percent ($6,000 maximum). Independence and Medina would split the remaining costs, with their shares based upon the percentages of lake shoreline located within each city. Medina would pay $16,685.95 (37 percent of the two cities’ share) and Independence $28,411.19 (63 percent of the two cities share).

The vegetation removal project will take place between Pagenkopf Road and Independence Road, with vegetation disposed of adjacent to and within the wetland. The purpose of the project would be to increase the capacity of the lake channel, thus reducing the height of the lake level during times of high water. In recent years high water has been washing away erosion control projects along the shoreline.

Spencer said that a weir on the lake channel provides some control over the lake level. Repair work on the weir would take place after the water level goes down in the lake. Jochum estimated these repairs to cost a maximum of $10,000, and the four project partners would share this cost.

In his report on the bids, Jochum said his feasibility report for the project included the alternative of removing excavated material from the wetland and disposing of that material off site. Estimated cost for this alternative was $180,364, including overhead.

After approving the vegetation removal bid, the City Council approved an agreement with Three Rivers Parks relating to the project. Under the agreement, Independence is responsible for executing all aspects of the clean-out project, securing permits and easements, securing funding for the project and facilitating an agreement to assure future maintenance of this part of the lake channel.

City Attorney Bob Vose recommended that Independence sign similar agreements with Medina and the watershed district.



In other action, the City Council appointed Larry Ende as Independence’s new public works director. He will succeed Dan Koch, who is retiring after a 35-year career with the city. Ende has worked for Independence for 19 years, most recently as senior public works/heavy equipment operator.

The council went on to approve the hiring of a replacement for Ende. The new hire would have the title of public works/heavy equipment operator.


In other business, the City Council:

APPROVED a request from Dan Beck to install “no parking” signs on Independence Road at the sharp curve north of the bridge, near his home. He said people have been parking there while fishing and snowmobiling, thus creating a traffic hazard and blocking his ability to use his access road.

APPROVED a request from Windsong Farm Golf Club for an amendment to its conditional use permit (CUP). The amendment will enable Windsong to construct overflow parking for a maximum of 50 cars on 16 acres located north of County Road 6. The overflow lot would be used no more than eight times a year during special events, and Windsong would use shuttles to get people safely across the highway.

APPROVED a request for a temporary mobile home for residents at 340 County Road 92. The family’s home was destroyed by a recent fire.

LEARNED that West Hennepin Public Safety will post signs at Pioneer Creek Park stating park hours. The signs will enable police to enforce restrictions on use of the park after hours.

Contact Susan Van Cleaf at