Cottage Grove plans road upgrades in 2011Projects will rehab residential streets and extend West Point Douglas in south Cottage Grove
The Cottage Grove City Council has approved a pair of road projects that will repair roadways in two residential neighborhoods and will extend a portion of West Point Douglas Road in the summer of 2011.
The $1.6 million residential roadwork will rehab streets in the Pine Coulee and Countrywood neighborhoods in south Cottage Grove, south of Highway 61, as well as the small Howard’s Addition neighborhood that includes Granada Avenue and 71st Street, south of 70th Street, in the northwest area of the city. The project is part of the city’s annual road rehabilitation program, known as the pavement management program. Council members approved the roadwork Dec. 1.
Separately, a $1.6 million West Point Douglas Road project will reconstruct a portion of the Highway 61 frontage road and will extend the roadway roughly 800 feet to a traffic signal-controlled intersection at Highway 61 and Manning Avenue. That, said Jennifer Levitt, the city’s engineer, will make it safer for drivers to merge onto Highway 61 south of Innovation Road by closing an uncontrolled, at-grade highway access.
Both projects will rely heavily on assessments. The city’s improvement policy calls for 45 percent of project costs to be assessed to benefiting residential properties, meaning property owners in the Pine Coulee and Countrywood neighborhoods are projected to pay $6,000 and property owners in the Howard’s Addition neighborhood are projected to pay $6,150.
This year’s pavement management project – which reconstructed roads and sewers in the similarly-rural River Acres neighborhood – cost property owners as much as $5,500. Initial estimates were upward of $6,200, but Levitt said lower than projected bids helped slash project costs and, in-turn, assessment bills.
Neighbors, businesses express concerns
Some residents of the Pine Coulee and Countrywood neighborhoods, as well as the nearby business owners, expressed concerns about the closing of the current access point. But city and Minnesota Department of Transportation officials say residents are better served by moving traffic to the controlled intersection at Highway 61 and Manning Avenue.
“MnDOT’s general goal is to improve the safety along (Highway) 61 by reducing direct access to/from (Highway) 61 at uncontrolled intersections,” wrote Adam Josephson, MnDOT’s east metro manager, in a letter to Levitt last month. “Access to (the Pine Coulee/Countrywood) neighborhood and business area is best served at the (Manning Avenue) signal.”
Nearly $600,000 in Minnesota Department of Transportation funds will help limit the cost of extending West Point Douglas Road to the city – as well as the businesses impacted by the project, like Erickson Marine and Gerlach Service, Inc.
Levitt said the city capped assessments to businesses for the project at the amount an independent appraisal indicated each of four parcels in the area would benefit from the road extension, between $20,000 and $50,000 each.
The extension of West Point Douglas Road will mark the first time commercial properties have been assessed by the city for costs associated with road work since the 2007 project that constructed a pair of roundabouts at Jamaica Avenue and Highway 61.