Andover council approves paving neighborhood’s roads

Andover is partnering with a neighborhood to pave gravel roads this summer.

The Andover City Council April 16 unanimously awarded a contract to Omann Brothers Paving, Inc. of Albertville to pave and add curb and gutter to 173rd Lane, Heather Street and 174th Lane east of Round Lake Boulevard. The approved bid of $305,117.66 also includes some curb repair work in other areas of the city.

The city and 16 residential properties will be splitting the construction and engineering design costs 50/50, which is the city’s policy for paving gravel roads. The city used to require residents to pay 100 percent of the costs, but the council changed the policy to encourage these roads to be paved.

The total cost of designing this project and paving the three roads is $324,576. Each of the 16 residential properties will be assessed $10,140, which can be paid over 10 years.

None of the residents objected to the project or assessment, even though the feasibility report completed last year estimated the assessment would be $9,510, which is a difference of $630.

Brian Pogorelec showed a cell phone picture of a backyard under water and said it floods during most spring thaws and heavy rainstorms. He has been in the neighborhood for nine years.

Jeannie Fernstrom moved to the neighborhood in 1985. Although she said her drainage problems are not as bad Pogorelec’s, the water does run from Round Lake Boulevard to her garage.

Curb and gutter is one of the additions that will improve drainage in this neighborhood, according to David Berkowitz, city engineer and public works director. The city also obtained easements from a few property owners to re-route the water.

Fernstrom has been hoping her neighbors would support a paved road for many years. She circulated a petition perhaps 15 years ago, but did not get enough signatures to move a project forward.

“It’s muddy,” she said when asked what the road was like now during the spring thaw. When the road is not muddy during the warmer months, “it’s dusty and dirty and horrible.”

When the council June 5, 2012 ordered plans and specifications to be prepared for this project, Councilmember Sheri Bukkila was the only one who voted no. She preferred that the city solve the drainage problems, but not pave the road.

Bukkila joined the rest of the council Tuesday evening in approving the construction contract.

Andover always bases its final assessment amounts on actual project costs, however, so the amount could be lower or it could be higher, said Berkowitz.

Depending on weather, the project could begin in mid-May and wrap up by late August, he said.

Councilmember Julie Trude told the residents that she is glad there still is support to proceed despite the possibility of a higher assessment because costs may have gone up if the city waited.

“I think it will significantly upgrade the value of your properties because of the improvement in drainage and just the enhancement of not dealing with the dust,” Trude said.

Eric Hagen is at [email protected]