New Auburn orders plans and specs for street work


New Auburn’s City Council, last week, ordered plans and specifications for an estimated $1.665 million street project.

Although the plans and specifications have been ordered to be completed by the city’s engineering firm, it does not mean the City will proceed with the entire project.

The council will decide this spring what portion, if any, of the street project will be completed once the bids are received. The City of New Auburn is also hoping to tap into President Barack Obama’s proposed economic stimulus package to help fund the project. The project will also be paid by assessments to abutting property owners and also by the city taxes that will be levied to pay for general obligation bonds.

New Auburn’s assessment policy calls for street reconstructions and overlays to be assessed 40% to the abutting benefitted properties. Upgrading of existing gravel streets by adding pavement is considered new construction and all costs are assessed at 40%. Seal coats are not assessed.

New Auburn is planning to seek bids for the entire street project, and alternates to repair existing blacktop streets and to pave existing gravel streets.

The proposed $1.665 million project would require total reconstruction of approximately five blocks of streets: Eighth Avenue, north of Highway 22 and Seventh and Sixth Streets, from Highway 22/Eighth Avenue to Seventh Avenue.

Reclaiming and four inch bituminous surfacing are being proposed on approximately 11 blocks of City streets. This would involve grinding up the existing street surface, grading it, and resurfacing with four inch bituminous material.

Mill and overlay work are planned on about two and half blocks: Sixth Street, from Seventh Avenue to Sixth Avenue, and Fifth Street, from Sixth Avenue to half of the block between Fifth and Fourth Avenue.

Crack sealing and seal coating are planned on approximately eight and a half blocks of City streets. Seven frost boil repairs are part of the street project.

Gravel street work would involve paving approximately 19 blocks.

Prior to last week’s council meeting, the City sent out 220 surveys to every property owner in the City. 72 surveys were returned. 63% of the respondents indicated they would like some street work this summer.

Justin Black, an engineer for Short Elliot Hendricksen (SEH), said the stimulus package being proposed is for road and infrastructure improvements that are considered “shovel ready.”

New Auburn’s cost for the plans and specifications will be approximately $70,000.

“If we don’t go ahead and stop, we can still use the same plans,” Mayor Roger Becker said. “It is not wasted money. The plans will be the property of the City.”

It appears that the Minnesota Department of Transportation is also hoping to tap into President Obama’s economic stimulus package to improve Highway 22 between Gaylord and New Auburn.

New Auburn Council members Jim Stark and Catherine Lorenz both commented that the City has been discussing a street project for approximately six years. “We had the road project almost ready to go when we were told we had to do the water treatment plant and water tower,” Lorenz said.

Mayor Becker said that there is no intention to include curb and gutter with this project. In the future, the City may have curb and gutter along Highway 22 when the Minnesota Department of Transportation repairs the highway.

Lorenz added that curb and gutter would “defeat the purpose of the rain gardens.”

At this time, the plan to widen the streets to 19 feet, Black reported. If the streets are widened to 20 feet, then retention ponds would be needed, he explained.

Bid opening for the street project will be held in early May. After the bids are opened and the City decides to proceed with the project, another public meeting will be held to notify the landowners of their potential assessments.