Mendota Heights considers $1.96 million road project near Henry Sibley High School

The proposed road construction project is west of Henry Sibley High School and parallel to Highway 110. (courtesy Google Maps)
The proposed road construction project is west of Henry Sibley High School and parallel to Highway 110. (courtesy Google Maps)

With construction along Victoria Road South coming to a close, city planners are already busy preparing for the next major roadway improvement project near Henry Sibley High School.

At the Sept. 1 Mendota Heights City Council meeting, council members reviewed a feasibility report for the proposed $1.96 million Mendota Road Neighborhood Improvement Project. A public hearing for the project is scheduled for the regular council meeting on Nov. 17. 

Assistant city engineer Ryan Ruzeck says the project will likely move forward, with construction to begin early next summer.

"[These roads] haven't been paved in 40 years, so they're overdue for maintenance," he says.

The project includes the reconstruction of Mendota Road (formerly Highway 110 Frontage Road) — from Delaware Avenue to Oak Street — and street rehabilitation on High Ridge Circle, Sibley Court and Warrior Drive.

Mendota Road and Warrior Drive were both constructed in 1970. The two smaller streets were constructed in 1988. Having determined that it's no longer cost-effective to patch these roads, staff had included these roads in the 2013-2017 Street Improvement Plan.

The project also incorporates pavement overlay, curb ramps and a fog seal coating along a segment of the River to River Greenway trail, from Dodd Road to Delaware Avenue.

In addition to pavement work, project planners are looking at options to add parking on Mendota Road, along with a 5-foot median along Warrior Drive to help with traffic control.

"Currently, there are a number of vehicles that do mid-block U-turns. Adding a median...would eliminate that," Ruzek says. 

During a neighborhood informational meeting, held Sept. 28, about half of the property owners showed up to voice concerns and ask questions.

"I didn't notice any highly contested issues," Ruzek says, noting city staff were sympathetic to concerns raised.

In talking with residents, project planners will likely reduce the length of the median on Warrior Drive, to allow for better driveway and emergency vehicle access. Some don't want to see a parking lane added to Mendota Road, but it's something Ruzek says the city is still working out with the high school administration.

Regarding project expenses, benefiting property owners will be assessed to cover a portion of the estimated $1,955,246 price tag.

While the city council won't finalize the final assessed amount until construction is nearly complete, at which point there will be an assessment hearing, estimates have already been compiled.

According to project reports, property owners along Mendota Road will be assessed $7,593 per unit — less for those assessed during the Town Center project — and $3,950 per unit along Warrior Drive.

These numbers are significantly lower than the city's standard 50 percent cost-sharing policy, which would have pegged homeowners with $15,964 and $7,290, respectively.

"We can't just assess based on our policy, if that property is not going to receive the benefits of that assessment," Ruzek explains, noting the city had an appraiser review the neighborhoods.

Remaining costs will be financed through municipal bonds.

Pending council approval after the Nov. 17 public hearing, the project will go to bid this spring. Construction will take place during summer 2016, set for completion before the start of the school year.

Erin Hinrichs can be reached at 651-748-7814 and ehinrichs@lillienews.com. Follow her at twitter.com/EHinrichsNews.

 

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