by Dennis Dalman
On a vote of 4-1, the Sartell City Council approved plans and advertisement for bids for the long-awaited Pinecone Road North reconstruction project. The new road is necessary, partly because of all of the increased volume of traffic that will be apparent when the new Sartell High School opens in 2019.
Council member David Peterson voted against the resolution because he said he feels strongly that the intersection at Pinecone Road North and Seventh Street should be made into a controlled intersection as part of the project rather than waiting for a traffic study after the Pinecone project has been completed.
Peterson said it is almost certain a traffic study will show that intersection needs more controls within a year or two, which would require tearing up the road there and doing the project all over again, resulting in a waste of money.
Council member Mike Chisum echoed Peterson’s thoughts, but he agreed with others on the council the project must be given a green-light go-ahead as soon as possible because of time constraints.
Peterson also said he disagrees with plans to spend $30,000 for landscaping of the two roundabouts that will be built as part of the Pinecone project – one at 27th Street, the other at 35th Street. Peterson said that a simple planting perennial native grasses on those roundabouts would be perfectly adequate at much less expense.
The Pinecone North Project, as it’s known, will involve two phases of work, all the way from First Street North to 35th Street North to the vicinity of Oak Ridge Elementary School and the nearby Sartell High School now under construction.
From 15th Street North to 27th Street North, the current two-lane road will be reconstructed into three lanes with a center left-turn lane. A biking-hiking trail will be laid down on the east side of that road. There will be roundabouts constructed at 27th and 35th streets.
From First Street North to 15th Street North, the road will undergo a bituminous-overlay project on the road and bike-hike trail.
In conjunction with LeSauk Township, the city will also help do an overlay project on the township road from 35th Street North to 40th Street North.
Prep work for the project will begin this June. The overlay portions of the project will be done during August and September in a way that will not require any road closures. The rest of the project will be done from Labor Day through autumn 2018.
In addition to the actual road surface work and reconstruction, there will be curb replacements, storm-sewer work and other improvements.
Construction costs for the project are projected to be about $5.6 million.