The New Hope City Council approved plans and specifications Jan. 23 for the Northwood North area infrastructure project.
The 2017 street reconstruction project will improve 2.4 miles of city streets north of Northwood Lake.
Of those 2.4 miles, 1.4 miles of streets will be fully reconstructed.
Full reconstruction includes Gettysburg, Flag, Ensign, Decatur, Cavell, 41st, 40th, Hopewood and a section of Jordan avenues. These streets will undergo water main, street, sanitary and storm water reconstruction.
Streets set to have mill and overlay work include 40 1/2 Avenue and sections of Jordan and Ensign avenues. Some areas of this portion of the project require reclamation.
The project could also include fully reconstructing 40th Avenue and installing an filtration basin. The city will request bids for the two projects and the city council will ultimately decide whether to pursue the work as part of the larger project.
The project will increase the driving surface, improve quality of life, increase safety and build up water and utility funds, according to city officials.
According to City Engineer Chris Long, there are quite a few water main breaks over the history of this project.
“There are water breaks on mill and overlay routes and reclaimed routes but we’re getting at the worst of them,” he said. “We’ll come back hopefully in 10, 15 to 20 years and do a full reconstruction on the streets that didn’t get the full reconstruction and replace the water main at that time.”
Similar to the 2016 Northwood South project, the Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission requires additional storm water treatment and storage, due to minimal impact design standards.
The city will install iron-enhanced filtration trench and some private rain gardens. Homeowners interested in having a rain garden will be responsible for maintaining the garden.
All traffic signs and posts within the reconstruction areas will be replaced.
According to Long, 170 trees will be removed as part of the project. Most of the removed trees are located within 10 feet of the curb or near proposed utility improvements. New Hope has a tree replacement policy that states all trees must be replaced. Residents can choose from 10 approved species of trees.
Homeowners are responsible for pulling back landscaping items such as shrubs, landscape beds, fences and irrigation prior to the project so the items are not damaged.
The city is moving away from using sod to replace the lawns damaged during construction, instead using blown-in compost with mulch and seed.
Long said it will take a month or so for the grass to really start growing.
“We’re getting a better root system with this,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of wet weather but once we have our dry year again, the hope is that most of this blown-in mulch will survive a lot better than that sod. That sod created an impenetrable layer that even weeds were having a tough time getting through.”
Staff members have also recommended that six parking stalls be placed near the corner of Ensign and Boone avenues to accommodate a truck that will come twice per year to vacuum the storage tank. The truck must not obstruct traffic, nor should it block the trail.
The project is estimated to cost $5.68 million with the two alternates, and $5.1 million without the two alternates.
An incentive bid item of $40,000 will be provided to the developer if there is substantial completion of work in all the full reconstruction areas by Sept. 29. The goal is to lessen the construction impact period for residents.
Staff members will receive bids Feb. 28, review the bids and consider awarding a contract March 13, host an on-site neighborhood meeting at the end of March, begin construction in spring and have the project substantially completed in the fall.
Weekly updates will be posted online at ci.new-hope.mn.us.
Councilmember Jonathan London did not understand why six parking stalls were proposed when on-street parking and a parking lot nearby is available.
According to Long, in order for one of the large trucks to get close enough to the project site to do its job, there needs to be a bituminous surface strong enough to hold the heavy machine. Rather than creating a pavement cutout only used for this machine, staff believed it would be more beneficial to make it a usable space.
“I don’t think any of the residents or anyone that sees beautification of the park wants an additional parking lot in the park when you have parking in the street,” London said. “I don’t understand why you want to take away the green space.”
Councilmember John Elder asked Police Chief Tim Fournier if parking is allowed along Ensign Avenue.
Fournier said he believed there is.
Mayor Kathi Hemken asked if the number of parking stalls could be reduced or if six are needed for the size of the truck.
Councilmember Eric Lammle empathized with London’s concern.
“I think a lot of folks are going to see this as, this is where I’m going to put my fourth car, until we start enforcing (2-6 a.m. parking restrictions) on it or something like that,” he said. “However, at the same time, I understand your guys’ need to get up there. Perhaps there’s something different we could do.”
Lammle said in the Northwood extension project, a path was installed that allows grass to grow through. He questioned whether that could be an option in this case.
London liked that idea and Long said he would look into the possibility.
Contact Gina Purcell at [email protected]