Jared Edwards (left) and Marshall Buruato walk along Byron's Frontage Road last week. The road is slated for a multi-million dollar renovation next summer. Photo by David Richards
By David Richards
Byron's city council paved the way to finish renovation on the city's Frontage Road by unanimously approving a major project Sept. 27 that will likely begin next summer and end next fall.
The Highway 14 Frontage Road in Byron is decades old according to city engineer Bill Angerman, who described it as the second worst major road in the city.
It's also one of the most traveled, too, as it lines multiple restaurants, gas stations and Byron's only grocery store.
At the Sept. 27 meeting, the council held a public hearing in which roughly a dozen residents spoke out about what they liked about the proposal, what they didn't and what they felt should stay or should go.
"The decision tonight is whether to move forward and that will lead to the design," Angerman said.
The renovation is likely to cost several million dollars, depending on what the council ultimately includes in the project.
The preliminary feasibility report feasibility was completed by Angerman's consulting firm, WHKS and Co. of Rochester.
Phase 1 of the Frontage Road reconstruction was completed in 2011, which included street reconstruction of the West end of the Frontage Road from Second Avenue NW to roughly 150 feet east of Eighth Avenue NW, according to WHKS and Co. documents.
The feasibility study includes Phases 2 and 3. Phase 2 includes an overlay of the West Frontage Road from the Phase 1 limits near Eighth Avenue NW to Voll Drive and stretches roughly 3,275 feet. Phase 3 includes the complete street, storm sewer and partial watermain reconstruction of the Frontage Road from County Road 5 to 10th Avenue and stretches 5,430 feet.
Both phases would take roughly six months to complete.
"The proposed Phase 2 and 3 Frontage Road construction is part of the Municipal State Aid Street system and is eligible for funding from the Minnesota Department of Transportation," according to the feasibility study.
The total cost estimate for both phases is roughly $3.6 million, which includes funds for landscaping, trash receptacles, bike parking, signage and lighting.
In the near future, the council will decide what the final project will entail and whether to include the renovation of 10th Avenue NE as well that borders the Frontage Road and Highway 14. Many of the residents at the hearing favored that approach, stating that it didn't make sense to spend millions of dollars and not include that stretch as part of the deal.
Angerman estimated the 10th Avenue portion would add another $700,000 to $900,000 to the cost of the project.
Councilman Alan De Keyrel said it was important for 10th to be included.
"I think we should move forward with this project ... but only if the understanding is to do 10th as well," he said.
The board agreed, and councilman Bret Bambauch made the motion.
"It doesn't make sense to build a $3 million project and create a logjam on that road," he said before making his motion.
Angerman said the council plans to hold public workshops to gather input as to what the public may like to see on the road and what they woudn't in terms of lighting and landscaping.
Janet Dahlin, one of the homeowners that lives near the road said she 's in favor of the renovation, but added that there should be a limit.
"We don't need the Lamborghini model when Ford will suffice," she said.
The project would be paid for a combination of state aid money, assessments and a bond.
Twenty percent of the overall total project cost will be assessed to the businesses and homeowners that are located along the reconstruction area.
Angerman said the assesessment costs for those affected are $11.76 per foot for Phase 2 (an estimated project cost of $328,000) and $58.67 for Phase 3, which has an estimated project cost of $3,020,000. The proposed cost of the total project also included the water main construction that is not included in the assessments.
Assessments for Phase 3 alone range from just less than $3,000 to $26,000 depending on the business or residence. The assessment would be paid over the same time frame as the life of the bond the city agrees to get, whether it be for 10 years or 15 years. City officials say the assessment interest rate should be in the 2.5 percent range.
"It's just smart," major Ann Diercks said of the project.