Streets, sidewalks to get new leaderThe person in charge of the crews that maintain streets, fix potholes, plow away snow and tackle other jobs to keep Alexandria’s traffic flowing smoothly, is stepping down. Bryan Bjorgaard, public works coordinator for the city of Alexandria for the last five years, submitted his resignation, effective June 27, to the Alexandria City Council Monday night. He’s moving to Idaho Falls where his wife recently landed a job.
By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press
The person in charge of the crews that maintain streets, fix potholes, plow away snow and tackle other jobs to keep Alexandria’s traffic flowing smoothly, is stepping down.
Bryan Bjorgaard, public works coordinator for the city of Alexandria for the last five years, submitted his resignation, effective June 27, to the Alexandria City Council Monday night.
He’s moving to Idaho Falls where his wife recently landed a job.
“Thank you for letting me be a servant for this great city for the last few years,” Bjorgaard wrote in his letter of resignation. “The motto is true: Alexandria is easy to get to but very hard to leave.”
The council accepted his resignation with regret and directed staff to send a letter to Bjorgaard thanking him for his service. “We are going to miss you,” said Mayor Dan Ness.
The city’s budget committee recommended creating a new position that combines the city engineer and public works coordinator jobs. The monthly pay would range from $4,925 to $6,664.
Council member Owen Miller made a motion to consider the recommendation at a separate work session. He said the council shouldn’t rush into filling the position. “There are tremendous opportunities here,” he said. “We don’t want to miss out on them with a quick decision.”
Council member Virgil Batesole commended the budget committee – comprised of Mayor Dan Ness, council member Elroy Frank and City Administrator Jim Taddei – for its thoroughness but agreed with Miller that this was a personnel issue that would make sense exploring at a work session.
The session was scheduled for Monday, May 21 at 5 p.m. at City Hall.
One of Bjorgaard’s final pieces of business was drafting written policies for pothole repairs, sidewalk inspections and maintenance, and street sweeping.
The policies aren’t really new, Bjorgaard noted; this just spells them out in writing. The council voted 5-0 to approve them. Bjorgaard put the policies together using recommendations from the League of Minnesota Cities and the city’s own policies.
Here are some highlights:
The public works coordinator will decide when to repair potholes. Repairs will consist of two elements:
• Crew repair. A crew will be assigned an area to inspect and it will repair any potholes it finds. Each street will be inspected at least once a year, depending on available resources and other factors, such as weather and other street work that needs to be done.
• Response to a complaint or accident. A crew will be sent out to inspect any street when the city receives a complaint or notice of an accident or damage involving a pothole.
The general criteria for a pothole to be repaired is for it to be two inches or more deep and more than five inches in diameter.
During cold weather, hazardous potholes will be repaired temporarily with a cold asphalt mix or other means. In warmer weather, hot asphalt mix will be used for a more permanent repair.
The priority for filling potholes is based on how the road is classified. Streets that are high volume and high speed routes that connect major sections of the city will be repaired first, as well as streets that provide access for emergency, fire, police and medical services.
Second priority streets include those providing access to schools and commercial businesses.
Third priority streets are low volume residential streets and the fourth priority areas are alleys and city parking lots. Workers will document all street repairs to potholes.
If the city knows of a pothole in a street and is not able to repair it, it will consider using warning signs or devices.
The city has miles of public sidewalks and their condition varies in age and condition. Not every irregularity rises to the level of a defect.
The city has limited employee and financial resources and can’t replace all sidewalks that need repair.
Under appropriate circumstances, property owners will cover up to 50 percent of the cost to replace sidewalks on their property.
Procedures for inspecting sidewalks:
• A citywide sidewalk survey will be completed every two years.
• Routine sidewalk inspections will be made on a regular basis.
• Criteria for determining if a sidewalk needs to be replaced or repaired will be based on an inspection sheet that identifies defects such as cracks, missing pieces, uneven surfaces and drainage problems.
After completing an initial sidewalk survey, the public works coordinator will establish a replacement and repair schedule, based on sidewalk conditions and resources available. The schedule will take into consideration the sidewalk location, amount of pedestrian traffic, proximity of the sidewalk to others needing repair, the nature and severity of the sidewalk’s condition, the city’s budget, public safety and other factors.
City employees are responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks that abut city-owned buildings or parking lots. Adjacent property owners are responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks that abut their properties.
The city may, as a public service and for safety reasons, remove snow and ice from sidewalks and the abutting property owner may be charged for the work.
Sweeping is necessary for vehicle and pedestrian safety, water quality issues and environmental concerns. The city will use city employees, equipment and/or private contractors to provide this service.
Sweeping of snow and ice control materials will begin when streets are clear, usually late March or early April. Spring sweeping is typically completed by May 1.
Fall sweeping begins in late September and is typically finished by early November. Areas with extensive foliage will be swept after most of the leaves have fallen.
Storm water quality areas will be swept on a priority basis throughout the year.
All city streets will be swept a minimum of twice a year.
Clean-up of dirt and debris from construction projects is the responsibility of the developer, contractor or property owner. Streets will be cleaned and swept within 24 hours of notification (except in cases of emergency). If the streets are not swept by then, the city may sweep and the responsible party will pay for it.
Tree trimming and pruning areas will be swept within 24 hours of the operation.
Citizen requests for sweeping will be evaluated and the public works coordinator will determine the priority.
Sweeping operations are normally done from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 3 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday.