Council hears flood report
BY SUE WEBBER
A group of a dozen Rogers residents who live on or near Fletcher Lane brought concerns about that street to the open forum portion of the Rogers City Council.
The council also heard a report about flooding in the area, and approved the street management plan.
Fletcher Lane residents said they are concerned about increased traffic and high levels of dust as cars speed along the dirt road.
Spokesperson Al Krinke said he complained about the road conditions last year and was assured that residents would be invited to a meeting with city officials.
“We weren’t invited, and we’re pissed off,” Krinke said.
He maintains that a traffic study eight years ago showed that 1,100 cars per day use Fletcher Lane. But now many more motorists are using the road, and he would like to see another traffic count.
Residents have taken it upon themselves to sprinkle the road with water to keep the dust levels down, Krinke said, adding, “They run over our sprinklers and someone was hit by a car tonight. It’s time to see an attorney to get Rogers to do something about the road.”
The woman who was hit by the car was not injured and was part of the group that addressed the city council.
John Seifert, the city’s public works superintendent, said he doesn’t recall being asked to meet with residents. He added that the road has been treated with a product that rinses off each time it rains. “Another treatment for dust control was scheduled for today, but the vendor ran out of product,” Seifert said. The next application on the road was scheduled for June 30, he said.
According to Seifert, Fletcher Lane never was constructed to city standards.
Councilor Darren Jakel said the city “needs to have a viable solution in play. You’ve got our attention; we’ve heard you. Let’s talk and get things out.”
As a result of the residents’ complaints, they adjourned to another room with Seifert to discuss options for the road.
Residents on Fletcher Lane used to live in Hassan Township, until that town was merged with Rogers in 2012.
In a telephone interview after the meeting, Krinke said, “I was one of the advocates for Rogers, but Hassan took better care of the roads.” He said the problems began three years ago, when the city closed off the north end of Main Street. Now, when Interstate 94 backs up, he said, “everybody shoots off County Rd. 30 to bypass. If they’re going north, they use Fletcher Lane. They go all different directions to get around the blocked freeway.”
“The whole problem is that Rogers doesn’t want to pay to fix the road,” said Krinke, who characterized himself as “an old Marine sergeant and a little bit of a radical.”
Late last week, Seifert said Fletcher Lane is not part of the city’s long-term infrastructure transportation plans because it does not meet city standards. The road, which is three-quarters of a mile long and has three houses on it, was built as a gravel farm road on the border of Hassan and Rogers. The first quarter of a mile of the road is paved, Seifert said. Because Fletcher Lane was constructed with a lot of black dirt and peat, a blacktop overlay wouldn’t be a viable solution, he said.
Problems arose when people driving on County Rd. 81 began using Fletcher Lane as a cut-through, Seifert said, adding that the city updates its traffic counts on that road annually .
City officials, residents and the city council will meet to discuss short- and long-term solutions for Fletcher Lane, Seifert said. Long-term, the city is working with Hennepin County on plans for a Fletcher bypass. “Our goal is a Fletcher bypass to connect County Rd. 81 with County Rd. 116, taking the traffic off Fletcher,” Seifert said.
In other matters, in a work session prior to the regular council meeting, Rogers Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Brad Feist updated the council on the flooding situation.
“The Crow River came up very, very quickly,” Feist said. “I’ve lived here 33 years and I’ve never seen the water as high as it is this year. This is going to stay with us for a while. We’re in it and we have to respond to it.”
Feist said that on June 24, County Rd. 136 in Otsego was under water and the levels at County Rd. 144 and 141st Avenue were continuing to rise. Rogers planned to close 147th Avenue to through traffic, he said.
“We have one home isolated; they can’t get to their driveway,” Feist said. “We’ve provided sandbags for a couple of homes. The trap range is all under water.”
Three roads still were closed on June 27: 141st Avenue, County Rd. 144 east of Willandale Road, and 147th Avenue east of Frederick Road.
But, Feist said, “We’re pretty lucky. We haven’t had any flooded basements or evacuations that I know about.”
The Crow River crested Wednesday night and had begun receding by Thursday, Feist said.
“It’s a slow process; it’s a waiting game,” he said. Even if more rain fell over the weekend, he said, “it still should be below crest level.”
City officials were expected to open 147th Avenue Friday, if the water continued to recede, Feist said. He estimated that 141st Avenue would remain closed for a week and a half.
When flooding affects a full city block, it is considered Rogers infrastructure, Feist told the city council last week. But generally, residents who have problems with water will receive a list from the city of dealers who sell bags and sand, Feist said. “We let them take responsibility for their properties,” he said.
The question for the city council is whether Rogers should continue with its policy of dealing only with infrastructure situations and individual “life and death” situations,” he said.
In other news, the council approved a proposal for a $421,000 Miscellaneous Street/Pavement management plan and called for a July 22 Public hearing
Engineer Bret Weiss said three areas have been identified as needing repairs this year: Orchid Lane, Northdale Boulevard and Mallard Estates. Work on 147th Avenue will be postponed until 2015, when it would be a candidate for a state aid project, Weiss said.