BY SUE WEBBER
Street issues, including a public hearing on upcoming improvements, and an update on Fletcher Lane were on the Rogers City Council agenda.
The council also recognized a public works employee who won a skills competition.
Following a public hearing, the council approved a resolution ordering the project for 2014 street repairs.
Cost of the improvements depends on which of two options the council chooses for Orchid Avenue, according to Bret Weiss, city engineer. Improving the road from Northdale Boulevard to Hillplace Drive would cost $206,000, for a total project cost of $466,900. If the council decides to repair only the worst segment of the street, Weiss said, the project would be completed from Northdale Boulevard to Aster Lane at a cost of $120,600, and a total project cost of $381,500.
The other two areas where improvements will be made include Northdale Boulevard $63,400) and portions of Mallard Estates ($197,500).
Weiss said all of the city streets are being rated regarding their current condition and the condition in which the city wishes to have them maintained.
“Certain streets need repair now,” Weiss said. “Waiting will create more danger to the roads and will cost more to fix in the future.” He said the plan is to save the streets that require inexpensive fixes and let others in worse shape go until they can be completely replaced.
“The city council is trying to extend pavements into the 50- to 60-year range,” he said. “We want to do mill and overlay as much as possible because it’s much less expensive.”
One street that will need full reconstruction in 2015 is 147th Avenue, Weiss said.
Two residents spoke at the public hearing. Russell Heidorn said, “I love the proposal; what you’re doing makes a lot of sense, and I can certainly support the plan.” He noted that Orchid is a major artery that carries a lot of traffic, and is in “really bad shape.” However, with the school district also planning an upcoming referendum, he said, “I’m a little afraid another assessment would be a burden.”
George Gmach said he was speaking on behalf of the Dahlheimer family, which he characterized as a “fairly large group of homeowners” who have a 14-acre parcel that abuts 137th Avenue. The property currently is being worked by garden farmers to maintain its Green Acres status, he said.
“I understand the merits of doing the [improvements] now,” Gmach said. “We have no buyers at this time. We aren’t commercial yet. Right now we are farming.”
However, he said, the property owners paid $72,000 in assessments for sidewalks last spring. “It’s hard for us to go back to the family and say they need to cough up another $18,000,” Gmach said.
Mayor Jay Bunting said, “As a city, we’re trying to plan for the future of our city. We have a lot of roads that are relatively new. If we continue to push off [improvements] it becomes a very expensive proposition.”
Residential properties that have driveways on the affected streets will be assessed at $1,030 for the project. The assessment is the same for all residents, regardless of the size of their properties, Weiss said. The assessment will be made over a five-year period at 5 percent interest.
The council is expected to open bids Aug. 19 and award the contract Aug. 26. Work will begin in September and is expected to be completed in November.
Fletcher Lane update
In response to resident concerns earlier about conditions on Fletcher Lane, Weiss reported on a July 21 meeting with neighbors.
A group of a dozen residents who live on or near Fletcher Lane brought concerns about that street to the open forum portion of the Rogers City Council June 24.
The residents said they are concerned about increased traffic, safety and high levels of dust as cars speed along the dirt road.
Residents have taken it upon themselves to sprinkle the road with water to keep the dust levels down, spokesman Al Krinke said then.
Recently, Weiss said that Average Daily Total (ADT) vehicle counts on Fletcher Lane have risen from 1,100 vehicles per day in 2011 to 1,440 per day in 2014.
The council last week unanimously approved four action steps for Fletcher Lane that grew out of the meeting with residents: increasing the dust control; continuing to grade the road; continuing to enforce vehicle speed limits; and conducting speed analysis.
“It’s better after the dust control, but traffic levels increase during rush hour every day,” Weiss said.
In the last two years, 95 incidents on Fletcher Lane have been reported to Rogers Police.
“Increasing the dust control and police patrol have done wonders,” resident Al Krinke said. “I do compliment the Police Department in Rogers. Speed has taken a dramatic drop.”
In addition to the four action steps the council approved, Weiss said, city staff will:
• Consider application of bituminous millings
•Consider additional reduction in speed limits near the park
• Evaluate future construction of the road
• Evaluate the condition of the railroad crossing and talk with the railroad about improvements
• Provide information on the number of citations given since the Police Department has increased its patrol on Fletcher Lane.
Mayor Jay Bunting noted that residents would have to be assessed if more extensive road improvement is done on Fletcher Lane.
“I’m in favor of increasing applications and grading, but I’m not in favor of spending $30,000 until we see how development is there,” Councilmember Rick Ihli said.
David Tiemann, a Public Works employee in Rogers since 2012, was recognized for taking first place among 150 drivers in the 2013 Minnesota Snow Plow “Roadeo.”
According to John Seifert, Public Works superintendent, the precision driving competition for county, city, township and state snow plow drivers measures accuracy, speed and capability as they maneuver around cones, barrels and signs.
“It’s very prestigious for a lot of guys,” Seifert said. “They practice during the summer. It’s not taken lightly.”
Tiemann’s win entitles him to compete in the 2014 event in Green Bay, Wis.