Road project goes aheadThe City Council’s Public Works Committee opted Tuesday to go forward with the Business Loop East road reconstruction project, but it will look for ways to cut potential assessment costs to affected property owners before making a final decision.
By: Toni Pirkl, The Jamestown Sun
The City Council’s Public Works Committee opted Tuesday to go forward with the Business Loop East road reconstruction project, but it will look for ways to cut potential assessment costs to affected property owners before making a final decision.
The City Council has until Dec. 15 to decide whether to kill the estimated $8 million project or continue. The project has come under fire as Business Loop East property owners objected to the financial toll of the assessments. They have threatened to protest the project out.
“We’re looking at going ahead with the reconstruction project, but we need to make it affordable,” said Councilwoman Kelani Parisien. “We’ll scale back the scope and look at assessments to make it more palatable for the property owners.”
Rather than a reconstruction, a mill and overlay is under consideration by the City Council. Paul Benning, a local government engineer for the North Dakota Department of Engineering, said DOT originally looked at doing a mill and overlay rather than a full reconstruction on the roadway. When Business Loop East was examined in 2005, he said, NDDOT found the condition of the road poor. He said the base is deteriorating and the pavement is breaking up with long, wide cracks across it.
“If we could have done a mill and overlay we would have suggested it to the city,” Benning said. “But no rehabilitation is possible.”
He said the road was paved in 1958 and rehabilitated in 1977 with a mill and overlay. The city has been responsible for routine maintenance on the roadway every seven years and property owners there are specially assessed. It was a state road until the U.S. Highway 281 Bypass was built, when it turned over to the city. However, the NDDOT agreed to reconstruct the roadway at a 90 percent federal and state share and 10 percent as the local share.
City Administrator Jeff Fuchs said if the roadway is reconstructed in concrete it will be many years before anything more will need to be done. He said it’s been 23 years since Second Avenue West was reconstructed and those property owners have had no new special assessments.
The city’s sanitary sewer main, where most of the city’s sewage empties, was new in the early 1950s, City Engineer Reed Schwartzkopf said. It was slip-lined more than 20 years ago.
“The fact that it was slip-lined 20 years ago says it had issues then,” Schwartzkopf said.
Replacing the sewer main would be paid for by the entire city. Local property owners would have to pay for replacement of their sanitary service lines and water lines. Mayor Clarice Liechty suggested the city pick up those utility costs.
“I don’t have a problem with the city picking up a bigger share of the roadway costs, but not the utility costs that benefit the property owner,” Fuchs said.
Property owners on the north side would have to pick up 20 percent of the cost of work on the frontage road. But Fuchs said some of the costs there could be reduced if property owners were willing to drop some of their requests. If the parking lane and fixing of storm water drainage problems were eliminated from the project, Fuchs said “that could reduce costs considerably.”
Public Works Committee Chairman Pat Nygaard said he would sit down with city staff and work on various scenarios to cover project costs. He said he’d also meet with the property owners to discuss the different options.
“It (the roadway) probably should be fixed but we’re not willing to foot the bill,” said Dale Redinger, a Business Loop East property owner.
In other business:
* the Finance and Legal Committee approved putting out bids on $3.6 million worth of improvements to the water treatment plant. Stimulus money — a loan with a 1 percent interest rate — will pay for about $2 million of the project.
* the City Council in a special meeting awarded the bid for the landscaping project for the U.S. Highway 281 project.
* the Finance and Legal Committee agreed to look at a request from Stutsman County Commissioner Dale Marks to jointly put a 1 percent sales tax on the ballot in June. If passed, half of it would go to county roads and half to the city’s sewer systems.
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org