Future roundabout?

The Fergus Falls Committee of the Whole discussed roundabouts at Wednesday’s meeting including one that is proposed on Union and Fir avenues.

The Fergus Falls Committee of the Whole took a step toward a $250,000 public improvement project at Pebble Lake Wednesday during a meeting at City Hall.

By approving a recommendation by city engineer, Brian Yavarow to initiate Public Improvement Project 6072, the city will be entering an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The DNR’s part of the pact is allocating $250,000 as the primary funding source. The city will provide engineering oversight and facilitate construction.

Yavarow told the committee he has solicited a design proposal for the project from Interstate Engineering to the tune of $22,000.

The committee was informed that the access project will also be reviewed by the DNR.

Yavarow was also on point in recommending the committee forward a feasibility study done by SRF Consulting for the Fir Avenue intersection project to Monday’s City Council meeting. 

The City Council accepted Otter Tail County’s joint agreement for the study May 7, 2018. The city’s cost share of the feasibility study has been tabbed at $15,725 and will be funded by the city’s state aid maintenance account.

Yavarow showed the committee roundabout alternatives at three locations on Fir Avenue. The total cost of the Tower Road and Fir Avenue roundabout is estimated at $2.5 million according to Yavarow. A proposed roundabout at Fir and Friberg avenues  is estimated at $2 million while one at Fir and Union avenues is estimated at $3.5 million.

Yavarow said the first roundabout project will likely to be carried out at Fir and Friberg.

He called the Fir and Union roundabout the most complicated of the three.

Yet a timetable for the roundabout work might have to wait four years. 

“There is no funding identified for these particular projects,” Yavarow said. “Otter Tail County has been applying for grants to fund these projects, however, we have not been successful.”

The next round of grants will be coming up in 2024 according to Yavarow. Otter Tail County is taking the lead in applying for grants. The city has not pursued roundabout grants. 

The committee carried a motion by councilman Scott Kvamme to accept the study but not before councilman Anthony Hicks had his say.

“I think that at this point $2 million for a roundabout is too much money,” Hicks said, adding that he would rather see such a sum of money spent on streets currently in need of repair.

The final item up for council discussion was the trunk Highway 210 reconstruction. Yavarow reported a hitch in plans for the project estimated at approximately $4 million. The Minnesota Department of Transportation accepted bids for it on Feb. 28. Based on the bid prices the city’s share of the project jumped approximately 30% over that initially estimated. The city’s share for mobilization remains at 0.03% of the total joint agency project cost but the low bidder’s unit price bid for mobilization is close to 11 times higher than MnDOT’s initial estimate. The increase to the city’s estimation portion of the job ($315,955.96) will be in the neighborhood of $100,000.  

Mobilization is a preparatory stage during which the majority of activities are managed by the construction manager.

At this point the city’s share of the cost is the sanitary sewer enterprise fund, the water enterprise fund and MSA maintenance funds.

The committee accepted a recommendation from City Administrator Andrew Bremseth to accept the donation of two parcels of land from the Al Seltz Family at the corner of Summit and Friberg, 

City finance director, Bill Sonmor told the committee his group would put together a recommendation for ways of offsetting costs incurred by residents who pay for city services with credit cards. 

The Fergus Falls City Council will meet Monday at 5:30 p.m. in the City Hall.

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