Archived Story

Direct route sought for water project in Woodland Heights

Published 11:01am Friday, September 13, 2013

Officials in charge of a planned water main construction project in the Woodland Heights neighborhood made clear their preference for a cheaper and more direct project route during a public meeting Thursday.

The one-hour meeting started with an introduction from Fergus Falls city engineer Dan Edwards and a ten-minute presentation from Pat Reisnour from Interstate Engineering, the firm in charge of the master plan for the project. Edwards cautioned those in attendance that the plan was still in the very early stages.

“It’s only the planning stage, so we might not have answers to all the questions you might have,” Edwards said.

But Edwards and Reisnour did their best to help people during a 45-minute question-and-answer session. Many of the people who spoke up were from the part of Woodland Heights where the first option for constructing the route is located. Reisnour first explained why the water main needs to be built in the first place, saying a booster station currently used to move water throughout the area was never meant to be a permanent solution.

“That booster station is coming of age and it is reaching its capacity,” Reisnour said.

Reisnour said this first option, dubbed Route A in the master plan, would run along County Highway 27 and would be the cheapest option at approximately $650,000. Route B would cost about $700,000 and Route C would cost around $832,000. Reisnour attributed these increased costs in Routes B and C to having to take indirect routes to move the water mains as far north as they would need to go.

All three routes would go along public roads, which Reisnour said would limit resident inconvenience and make any future implementation of a sewer system in the Woodland Heights neighborhood much easier. Currently, the Woodland Heights neighborhood is not part of the city of Fergus Falls and there has been little momentum lately in annexation talks.

The meeting had a casual feeling, with no one in attendance getting mad or voicing total dissatisfaction with the project. Attendees seemed to want to gather as much information about the project as they could.

Reisnour said the preliminary plan is to put the mains along ditches on the side of the road so as disrupt drivers as little as possible. Any work done on driveways during construction would also be replaced by the city.

People will be allowed to make comments or suggestions on the location of the project until Sept. 25, after which time officials will gather and present their recommendations to the Fergus Falls City Council.

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