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Cottage Grove road project generates complaints; assessments OK’d

Homeowners in two neighborhoods where streets were reconstructed this summer told the Cottage Grove City Council last week that they thought the contractor did subpar work.

The $6.86 million project in pavement management districts C1 and C2 is costing area property owners roughly $2 million in assessment fees at a 4.35 percent interest rate with a 15-year payback window.

Hardrives, a Rogers-based paving contractor, who was also the general contractor for the Hinton Avenue reclamation project, came under fire during the meeting for alleged poor work. Levitt told the council that she had received concerns in relation to the quality of work performed.

“Under state statute, the city is obligated to award the bid to the lowest responsible bidder,” Levitt said. Hardrives’ bid was roughly $200,000 less than the next lowest bidder. “Hardrives is a company that has extensive experience with similar projects.”

Roads were reconstructed in an area generally bound by 70th Street to the north, 80th Street to the south, Keats Avenue to the east and Jamaica Avenue to the west.

Residents complained about final project aesthetics including white paint lines at the bottom of driveways, damage to new concrete curb and gutters and finished pavement height in front of curbs.

“Construction of this nature is not an exact science,” Levitt admitted. “The more depth of asphalt we have at that interface, the better. Because if you think about it, where does the garbage truck drive? Right on the edge.”

She added that the white paint lines at the bottom of driveways and damaged concrete curb and gutter are on the subcontractor’s “punch list” for repair.

Levitt also explained construction specifications that “hold the contractor accountable” for work completed, which include strict MnDOT standards.  

The pavement management project included full curb and pavement replacement and mill and overlay, including spot curb replacement. The city also partnered with the South Washington Watershed District to install a dual sanitary sewer line and a new storm pipe. Properties within that project sewer line installment also received a full pavement reconstruct but are only being assessed for a mill and overlay due to the partnership with the SWWD, Levitt said.