The City of Red Wing and the State of Minnesota reconstructed a stretch of Highway 61 in downtown Red Wing in 2015 and 2016. Officials credit the unique partnership between the city, state and local business community, and pro-active communication with the residents and business owners for the project’s success.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) originally proposed a mill and overlay for the project, but city officials knew more work needed to be done. The sanitary sewer, storm sewer, and water lines below the highway had served the city for more than 100 years and needed replacing. Also, city leaders wanted to upgrade traffic signals, provide sidewalk bump outs for pedestrian safety, and build curb ramps allowing for handicap accessibility.
Stakeholders sat down and talked
The project’s two stakeholders sat down and talked about their shared interests in the corridor, said Project Engineer Cory Bienfang of Bolton & Menk. Those talks resulted in the state helping the city find additional funding sources. They also led to the development of a two-year construction plan, allowing the highway to remain open to traffic during construction.
MnDOT designed the pavement with an 8-inch doweled concrete road, after completing a cost-benefit analysis, said Bienfang. The reconstructed highway is 62-feet wide as it approaches downtown with four lanes of traffic and a center turn lane. In the downtown area, it’s 62-feet-wide, with two, 10-foot-wide parking lanes.
Bienfang said the biggest construction challenge was keeping the traffic flowing and getting the work done.
“We built the project in halves, building the south side first, keeping the north side open. And then we built the north side, keeping the south side open,” said Bienfang.
“I’m extremely happy with how the project turned out,” said Red Wing City Engineer and Project Lead Jay Owens. The highway was reconstructed, the infrastructure was replaced, and the streetscape now includes LED lighting to save money.
Business community stepped up
Owens also credited the city’s transparency and the work of the local Chamber of Commerce for the project’s success. The business community really stepped up, said Owens.
Chamber Executive Director Patty Brown led a committee that included representatives from the city, state, Port Authority and the business community. The group met weekly to discuss project progress and address concerns raised by residents and business owners. Brown also raised around $100,000 to fund a “Lost Revenue Fund” available to small, locally-owned businesses.
Weekly construction updates via the city’s local television station, website, Facebook page, and local and state Twitter accounts, as well local newspaper stories kept the community informed.
The State of Minnesota and the City of Red Wing shared the project’s costs. The state contributed about $5.5 million. The City financed its portion using $5 million in bonds, $753,000 in municipal state aid and $873,000 from its general fund. The city also assessed property owners about $386,000.
May 2015 – September 2016
Total cost: $12.6 million, including design, engineering, land acquisition and construction costs.
Concrete depth: 8 inches on 8 inches of Class 6 Aggregate base and 12 inches of select granular sub base.
Total project length: 0.95 miles
Total Concrete Placed: 7,847 CY, including concrete used for pavement, curb and gutter; another 1,327 CY for driveways and sidewalks.
A new Nicollet County concrete roundabout eases traffic on Broadway Street (CSAH 5) in Peter, Minn. The impetus for the project was the construction of a modern, new St. Peter High School on this street at the edge of downtown. The school opened in September 2017.
The highway has heavy truck traffic, and the speed limit is 45 mph from the east and 55 mph from the west. The county worked with the St. Peter School District and the City of St. Peter on how to slow down the traffic and allow safe access to the school.
“Speed was a real concern, especially since we have young drivers and quite a few students who walk and bike to school,” said Nicollet County Engineer Seth Greenwood. “Rather than having traffic going 55 mph, we had to consider how to get that to slow down.”
Roundabout eases traffic yet keeps it flowing
When the school district held public open houses in 2016 to talk about the bond referendum for the new high school, county representatives were there to describe the roundabout solution. A feature of the roundabout design is long, curved medians that force drivers to reduce their speed.
“We’ve heard positive feedback from residents and it seems to be working extremely well,” Greenwood said.
A related project involved a township gravel road that leads up to the roundabout from the south. The township and city received local road improvement funds and replaced the gravel with bituminous at the same time the roundabout was constructed.
The 1.14-mile CSAH 5 project stretches from 361st Avenue to Sunrise Drive. The entire project was paved with 7-inch, doweled concrete for long-term performance of the pavement.
Broadway Street on the west side of the project was already paved with concrete. The urban side was paved with 25-year-old bituminous that was in tough shape. The county milled that out and replaced it with concrete. Also, it rehabilitated some curb and gutter, updated ADA ramps, and performed soil correction in the roundabout area.
$3 million: The county paid $2.1 million, and the city and school district put in $900,000.
May 2017 – August 2017.They had to finish before the new high school opened right after Labor Day.
A 600-foot section of Broadway Street in the downtown St. Peter, Minn. was reconstructed in 2017 to beautify and strengthen the busy eastern entrance to the downtown business district. downtown. Drivers enter from the historic Highway 99 Minnesota River Valley Bridge and the project extended from the bridge to Highway 169 (Minnesota Street).
Simultaneous projects a sensible move for MnDOT and St. Peter
City leaders seized the opportunity to reconstruct that end of Broadway Street when MnDOT rehabilitated the unique historic Pennsylvania thru-truss bridge; MnDOT was setting up detours the city could take advantage of. The bridge project involved strengthening truss floor beams, constructing a new concrete bridge deck and sidewalk, and more. Some bridge work remains for 2018.
“The city was involved with the design, putting a plan together, and bidding the project,” said City Engineer Jeff Domras, P.E. “We added raised decorative concrete medians, signals, accessible sidewalks and new parking configurations.” The $1.36 million project involved replacing underlying utilities, underground stormwater infrastructure and adding a fiber optic conduit.”
Also, the city sat down with business owners to explain the project and work out a way to minimize the impact on those businesses.
“I think everyone’s very happy with the street,” said Domras. “It was well worth it.”
July 2017 to May 2018
Total project cost was $1.36 million including $930,000 from MnDOT, $200,000 fromArea Transportation Partnership funds, $120,000 from city MSA funds, and $110,000 from the local utility.
Seven inches of non-reinforced and downed concrete over six inches of aggregates.
TEAM Owner: City of St. Peter
Project Lead: Jeff Domras, St. Peter City Engineer, Bolton & Menk
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and Waseca County recently reached a turnback agreement giving custody and care of the old Trunk Highway 14 (Elm Avenue), back to the county. The negotiated transfer includes significant updates to the once highly traveled and now tired and worn roadway.
A Highway 14 bypass that circumvents the south-central Minnesota city of Waseca, population 9,074, was constructed several years ago.
This Elm Avenue concrete reconstruction project will likely span two construction seasons; it started in 2017 and will be complete in fall 2018 or spring 2019. The City of Waseca is coordinating and designing this undertaking, as the roadway falls within city limits.
City tapped into several funding sources to pay for turnback project
According to Consulting Engineer Joe Palen of Stantec Consultants in Rochester, Minn., funding came predominantly through MnDOT and their portion of the turnback.
The city funded its share of the project through a $1.27 million federal funding grant, low-interest loans from the Drinking Water and the Clean Water revolving loan funds administered through the state’s Public Facilities Authority and local utility funds. These funds were used to offset the costs sanitary sewer, water main, stormwater, lighting and sidewalk improvements that were constructed as part of the project.
The Old Trunk Highway 14 improvement project includes the replacement of the road surface with concrete, and significant infrastructure and traffic safety upgrades.
The use of concrete was established in the turnback agreement made between MnDOT and Waseca County, according to Palen.
He said, “One of the main benefits is the longevity of the product along with reduced maintenance costs. There’s a decent amount of truck traffic running through the corridor. I think those were probably some of the considerations when specifying concrete for the road surface.”
Ulland Brothers Inc., Albert Lea, Minn., was the low bidder for the project at just over $18,298,000. Hoffman Concrete, Mankato, Minn., was subcontracted to perform the concrete work.
Start: June 2017
Anticipated Completion: Spring of 2019
Concrete depth: 7-inch concrete pavement
Total project length: 3.4 miles
Total concrete placed: 77,150 sq. yards
Owner: Waseca County
City of Waseca, Waseca County & MnDOT
Project lead:Mark Duchene Waseca City Engineer (former)
Minnesota cities and counties are turning to partial- and full-depth repairs to extend the lives of their concrete streets and roads.
In some cases, the roads were nearing the end of their projected service life. In others, the concrete streets have served their communities far longer than ever expected.
Officials perfected the concept of concrete repair in Minnesota in the mid-80s, said Matt Zeller, executive director of the Concrete Paving Association of Minnesota. Rehabilitation allows cities and counties to take care of their original investments.
“It allows them to add years to the life of the pavement, rather than having to replace it,” Zeller said.
Waseca County turned to partial- and full-depth repairs to fix two roads last summer. A 6.5 miles stretch of County State Aid Highway 3 (CSAH 3) between Janesville and Elysian, was 30 years old and showing its age because of truck traffic, and salt and sand use. The other, a four-mile section of CSAH 7 near Morristown, estimated to be about 20-years-old, had developed some joint issues.
City expects pavement to last another 20 years
Some 75 miles north, the City of Minneapolis completed two concrete street rehabilitation projects – one in the Waite Park neighborhood and at Oliver and Penn Avenues South. In both cases, city officials expect the work to extend the life of the concrete by 20 years or more.
On both projects, crews finished the work by diamond grinding the road surface to improve skid resistance, reduce noise and increase safety.
Zeller said diamond grinding was developed for highways. Using it in cities is a relatively new practice, he added, saying that diamond grinding gets the pavement back to a nice, smooth surface.
There are concrete streets in Owatonna that were rehabbed 30 years ago — long before it was a mainstream idea. Zeller said the public works director knew city streets didn’t require the same degree of rehabilitation as highways.
“The traffic isn’t as heavy and the vehicles don’t drive as fast as they do on the highway. So he’d cut out a small section and place new concrete.”
Many of practices developed in Owatonna are now part of the Minnesota Local Road Research Board’s concrete standards, Zeller said.