Road Work

Le Sueur City Staff announced plans to mill and overlay parts of Ferry Street running east of Hwy. 112 at the September 9 City Council meeting. The plans for Ferry Street replace the city’s plans for refurbishing North Main Street and Commerce Drive, though parts of Commerce Drive north of Market Street will still see improvements. (Carson Hughes/Le Sueur County News)

The city of Le Sueur’s street rehabilitation plans are getting a location change.

Le Sueur City Engineer Cory Beinfang told the city at the Sept. 9 City Council meeting that parts of Ferry Street running east of Elmwood Avenue past Le Sueur-Henderson High School have been scheduled for a surface overlay and renovation of underground utilities.

The rehabilitation is part of the city’s participation in the 2020 Hwy. 112 turnback project, a joint effort between the state of Minnesota, Le Sueur County and the city of Le Sueur to reconstruct the trunk highway and transfer ownership of the highway from the state to the county.

Originally, city staff planned to use a lump sum bond from the county to perform a mill and overlay on North Main Street and Commerce Street, which intersects with 112, and reconstruct the streets’ water main and storm sewers. However, upon further investigation, city staff decided to execute some of the scheduled renovations on Ferry Street instead.

“The city, we did a lot of investigative work on Commerce and Main Street, primarily focusing on underground infrastructure, mainly storm sewer,” said City Engineer Beinfang. “It became evident in discovery that the underground condition of Commerce specifically is of condition where it doesn’t support or doesn’t make sense to do the surface overlay as we always planned.”

“One of the things you want to consider though when resurfacing is you have underground utility support resting on the surfacing because you’re expecting [the utilities to last] 10-15 years and we felt on North (Main) and Commerce we probably didn’t have that lifespan in underground utilities.”

Beinfang also felt that Ferry Street was more in need of a resurfacing than Commerce and North Main because Commerce was one of the better roads to drive on in the city. In addition, Ferry has an undersized water main that Beinfang said would benefit from a reconstruction.

“It was a decision to take that resource and allocate that elsewhere,” said Beinfang. “One of the greater needs we feel is Ferry Street from Elmwood east past the community center and past the high school. So we’ve made a change to focus on Ferry now, instead of North Main or Commerce. Not to say we won’t be revisiting that at a later date, but we feel that Ferry has a greater need … It’s not a super thick section right now, which is probably why you’re seeing some of the wear that you are. Additionally, there’s an undersized water main we feel we can address with this as well. I think there’s a great deal of benefit from a surfacing standpoint.”

Parts of Commerce Street from the Market Street intersection north to the 169 ramp are still planned for improvement. All of the Commerce and North Main renovations south of Market Street have been cancelled to make way for Ferry.

The project plans for Ferry Street include milling off the road’s three inches of pavement and adding a 4-inch lift of bituminous while improving the street’s water main. Also included in the plan is an overlay of two blocks of Ferry Street between the intersections of Second and Fourth streets.

Changing the project area has forced city staff to delay some steps of the project. The preliminary engineering report was scheduled to be delivered to City Council Sept. 9, but now the report is being submitted Sept. 23.

Despite the delay, Bienfang said the shift in the project area won’t affect the city’s timeline too much.

“We haven’t really shifted much in schedule; we had a two-week buffer there,” said Bienfang. “Schedule-wise, we can’t make any shifts like this anymore. I’m pretty confident this project area is going to hold now. We’ve been making a lot of changes, but this is strategic and justified as probably our best layout, so I think there’s a lot of optimism with what we’re moving forward with.”

City Administrator Jasper Kruggel noted that the city might experience a separate delay in benefit appraisals for assessments. Kruggel told the council there are only a few benefit appraisers in the state, and the city has had difficulty finding someone to perform the appraisals.

“Depending on the benefit appraisal and when we get those results back, the actual assessment might slip a little bit down the timeline, which is fine … There’s no doubt in my mind we’ll get it done before 2020, but they’re busy people it seems like.”

Construction on the project is scheduled to begin May 2020 and completed in October 2021.

Reach Reporter Carson Hughes at 507-931-8572.

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