Big project on Alexandria's 18th Ave. moves ahead

Since last September, the cost of the project has increased by more than $1.5 million.

ALEXANDRIA – A major street project on 18th Avenue took a big step forward Monday.

The Alexandria City Council voted to call for bids on the $6.9 million project that will reconstruct 18th Avenue between Nokomis Street and Fillmore Street.

The bid will include all of the construction, reconstruction and realignment of 18th Avenue, the reconstruction of Hawthorne Street between 17th Avenue and 18th Avenue, the reconstruction of Jefferson Street between 12th Avenue and 18th Avenue, and a right turn lane on Broadway.

It will also replace old waterlines, outdated sewer system, and eliminates a lift station that would need to be replaced soon.

The work is scheduled to take place this summer. A 3,000-foot section of the street will be built as a 10-ton urban design road with curb, gutter and sidewalks. It will also include storm sewer with catch basins and manhole covers.


The cost of the project will be split between ALP Utilities, Alexandria Lake Area Sanitary District, the city’s stormwater utility, and federal and state aid. The city's share of the cost is estimated at about $260,000 and includes stormwater utility funds and landscaping.

Since last September, the cost of the project has increased by more than $1.5 million. Removing contaminated soil increased from zero to $327,943, based on a now known contamination site located near 18th Avenue and Broadway.

Storm sewer costs surged from $271,700 to $893,468 after more manholes, catch basins, and an underground stormwater chamber were added to comply with the city’s storm sewer ordinance.

Other increases: traffic control went up from $18,630 to $275,000; lighting increased from $84,866 to $220,404; and landscaping increased from $69,690 to $147,195.

All of these amounts are estimates; the actual costs will be determined by the low bid, according to City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven.

Bids are expected to be opened on March 30 and will be brought before the council in April.

The city is still in the process of obtaining right-of-way for the 18th Avenue project. It closed a portion of its Monday meeting to discuss acquiring land from Silver Maple Investments, LLC. A small portion of the northeast corner of the company’s parking lot serves the tenants of the building at 1804 Broadway.

Tenants include O'Reilly Auto Parts, Alex Bearing and Farm Supply, J.G. Hair Care, Alexandria Title Company, Kaleidoscope Business Services, Activecare Chiropractic Clinic and Homegrown Nutrition.


To get the parcel, the city has started eminent domain proceedings in Douglas County District Court. The process has two phases – a “quick take” phase where the court transfers the land to the city after determining that the taking of the land is for a proper public purpose and a “damages” phase where the court determines how much the city must pay for the land, according to City Attorney Tom Jacobson.

In this case, the city, Silver Maple and all of the tenants agreed that the city’s taking is for a public service and the city may acquire the land. On Feb. 8, a judge approved the quick take and ordered the transfer of the land.

“We have always known that the city would have to pay something for this land; the only question was how much,” Jacobson said in a memo to the council.

Jacobson requested the council to go into a closed session to discuss how much the city should pay. This confidential attorney-client conversation is allowed under state law.

In a related action, the council approved a revised engineering agreement for 18th Avenue and Jefferson Street. The total engineering cost is $744,142, up 39% from the $556,940 amount last September.

The difference is because the scope of the engineering work increased for three items – contaminated soil, storm sewer and traffic control, Schoonhoven said.

Also, the council approved a resolution to designate no parking on 18th Avenue, between Fillmore and Nokomis Street. The state requires the city to designate where parking will not be allowed for any project that receives state funds.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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