Although the cool, wet weather has slowed work on the Red Wing Avenue improvement project, Wencl Construction indicated it’s on schedule to be completed in late October.
City Engineer Derek Olinger told the Kenyon City Council Sept. 8 the contractor has completed installation of sanitary sewer and water main up to the Ninth Street intersection. Over the next few weeks, engineers Olinger and Joe Rhein say they expect all underground work to be complete. In late September, Wencl will prepare the street for concrete and asphalt surfacing. Wencl is required to bring the new street back to pavement by Oct. 31.
Councilman Dan Rechtzigel asked Olinger if he sees any other delays for the project other than weather.
“Not really, everyday they get closer to the end is a day of less potential questions or issues that come up,” said Olinger. “Realistically, they only have one more block of utility work, more often than not, that’s the portion of work where there’s the most potential for questions or issues that come up.”
After hearing a complaint from one resident about the grass/weed patch the contractors put down, Councilman Tom Gard asked for more information on that particular type of grass.
Olinger said the seed mixture that is put down right away includes an annual grass (rye grass), since it comes up quickly and covers where needed. Since it is an annual, it will die once winter rolls around, which is when the perennial blue grass will come up and stick around year after year. Oftentimes, Olinger said when that happens, there will be some weeds that come up.
“There are probably a little more weeds than I would have expected, but realistically, what happens most of the time, once it’s established enough and people start mowing it, the blue grass and rye grass take over and the weeds will go away,” said Olinger.
At no point in the project, Olinger said, should there be an expectation for the lawns to look like a golf course, especially since the topsoil the contractors use is the same topsoil that was in their yards before, or the same topsoil in a neighboring yard.
“That topsoil has weeds in it,” Olinger added. “There’s very little we can do about that, except try to promote the new grass to take over. Over the long term it’s a better product, it’ll last longer and it’s heartier.”
The contractor’s fourth partial pay request number for $472,518 was approved by the council at the meeting. The request is for work completed between July 25 and Aug. 21, which includes water main, sanitary sewer main and storm sewer between Fifth and Eighth streets. The pay estimate also includes some street construction (excavation, granular based and drainage piping) between Fifth and Sixth streets.
The project includes assessments to properties abutting and benefiting from the project. Levying assessments against private properties for special benefits requires that the city follow a specific process as outlined in Minnesota statues. The city completed the feasibility report and improvement hearing during 2019. The last step in this process is the assessment hearing.
For the assessment hearing, the cost assessed for each property is determined based on the projected final construction costs. The assessment hearing is intended to provide property owners an opportunity to comment on their assessments before final approval. The council approved the first step in the assessment hearing process, giving the engineers the green light to prepare the draft final assessment roll for council review. At an upcoming meeting, they will set the date for the assessment hearing and designate the repayment terms and interest rate.
In other engineering updates, Rhein and Olinger told the council that contractors were scheduled to begin work on the EDA/Kenyon Business Park Sept. 14.
The work will begin on the south end of the project, within County Road 12, which includes a complete closure of County Road 12 for two to three weeks. Notices of the closure were delivered to adjacent property owners. Once utility work on County Road 12 is completed, the road will be repaved and the contractor will move on to the northern utility extension along Hwy. 60. A pre-construction meeting was scheduled for Sept. 9 via video conference to discuss potential dates for holding a groundbreaking ceremony at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7.