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After two failed motions, engineering work approved for 18th Ave. in Alexandria

The engineering agreement for the $8.15 million project amounted to $903,711 – a 17% increase from the cost determined in February.

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Crews have been working on the 18th Avenue project in Alexandria since July even though the engineering agreement wasn't approved until Thursday, Aug. 11.
Lowell Anderson / Alexandria Echo Press
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ALEXANDRIA — The third time was the charm for an engineering agreement to be approved for the 18th Avenue project in Alexandria.

After failing to get seconded at two past meetings, the Alexandria City Council approved the agreement at its meeting, which was held Thursday, Aug. 11 instead of Monday because the council chambers had to be set up for the primary election.

The engineering agreement for the $8.15 million project amounted to $903,711 – a 17% increase or $129,569 more than the cost determined in February.

The latest agreement was revised from the other two times it went before the council. The billing method was changed from a lump sum agreement to an hourly agreement.

Under this type of agreement, the city will pay for only the actual engineering hours that are expended on the project – no more, no less, according to City Administrator Marty Schultz.

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The total amount of engineering is also capped so that it will not exceed the amount that is reimbursable from municipal state aid.

The cost increases for the project and the engineering work increased because the current bidding climate has been significantly impacted by labor and material shortages, according to City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven. After getting feedback from several general contractors, the city extended the project's completion date from the fall of 2022 to the fall of 2023, from four months to seven months, he said.

Also, funding for the project comes with very specific requirements for federal and municipal state aid funding, which will require additional hours of engineering work that amounts to $139,296, according to Schoonhoven.

The overall cost of the project is $8.15 million. The total amount of federal and state aid funding is $5,293,613, Schoonhoven said.

"This is a very important road," Schoonhoven told the council at a past meeting. "It will be the last east/west corridor the city will be able to build."

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Tim Schoonhoven

He added that it's also a very expensive and complicated project that includes eight funding sources: state aid — $3.54 million, federal funding — $1.75 million, Alexandria Lake Area Sanitary District — $1.67 million, ALP Utilities — $891,730, the city's stormwater utility funds — $158,502, locally funded landscaping — $80,842, state-aid eligible landscaping — $42,000, and other local funding — $55,034.

The project will reconstruct 18th Avenue between Nokomis Street and Fillmore Street. It includes reconstruction and realignment of 18th Avenue, the reconstruction of Hawthorne Street between 17th and 18th Avenue, the reconstruction of Jefferson Street between 12th and 18th Avenue, and a right turn lane on Broadway.

The project will also replace old water lines, outdated sewer systems, and eliminate a lift station that would need to be replaced soon.

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Schoonhoven told the council Thursday night that the project was on schedule and looking good.

All six phases of the project are expected to be completed by Aug. 4, 2023.

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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