St. Francis hopes to have Hwy. 47 pedestrian improvements in place by January

Some much-needed pedestrian safety improvements at the intersection of Highway 47 and Pederson Drive in St. Francis could be completed by the end of January 2013.

The St. Francis City Council Monday unanimously voted to award the project to Concrete Idea of St. Michael, which had submitted a bid of $140,096 to have the job finished in January.

The council had the option of awarding the job to Forest Lake Contracting, Inc. for a savings of close to $10,000, but that would have meant extending the completion date until May 2013.

St. Francis Mayor Jerry Tveit said he thought it would be prudent to get the project done as soon as possible despite the $10,000 difference. “I don’t want to risk our kids crossing there in winter time… if something happened I’d feel horrible,” said Tveit.

The project, which includes installing a flashing beacon and concrete pedestrian ramps, will be funded 50 percent by the city’s general fund and 50 percent by St. Francis School District 15.

The school board has yet to vote on the bids and could still decide to accept the lower bid and later completion date.

However, City Engineer Jared Voge said the school superintendent has indicated that the district favors the January completion date as well.

In the past several years there have been nearly 30 accidents at the Highway 47 and Pederson Drive intersection, some involving pedestrians.