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Storm sewer improvement proposals discussed
November 2, 2018

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The City of Rugby Public Works Committee held a special meeting last Thursday afternoon to give feedback on proposed storm sewer improvements along a stretch of ND Highway 3 running through town.

The project, proposed by the North Dakota Department of Transportation, would improve drainage and storm water flow in a section of highway from the area near 6th St. SW, north to where the highway meets 1st St. NW.

The committee discussed types of construction involved, costs and the project's impact to city residents via conference call with Donovan Breen, an engineer with Brosz Engineering of Stanley, hired by the NDDOT to oversee the project's environmental phase.

The group discussed three different types of construction: open trench excavation, lift station with retention, and a jack and bore method. An email sent by Breen to the committee before the meeting estimated the open trench method's cost at $1,000,000, and the jack and bore method at $1,885,000. The lift station and retention method had the highest estimated cost at $3,765,000.

Breen said the City of Rugby would be responsible for approximately 20 percent of the project's cost, based on a study of drainage from areas owned by the city vs. highway land.

"Basically, we go and look at where the drainage is coming from, how far away it's coming from, anything within 1 block of our right of way is fully paid for by the state. Anything that is outside of that 1 block is the city's share," Breen explained.

"Right now, we're looking and it's all preliminary right now this is not a final number, but right now we're looking at 20 percent of that flow is outside of that 1 block," Breen continued.

Breen also discussed problems associated with the more expensive methods for consideration by the NDDOT.

"We thought even with the jack and bore, there still might be potential, because of all the vibration (from the jack) that it might impact some of the old (infrastructure)," he noted.

Mayor Sue Steinke told the group she had researched the age of the city's infrastructure, and found that various parts had been installed between 1928 and 1931. Breen told the group the NDDOT would pay for any damage to infrastructure caused by the project.

The committee and Breen agreed that the open trench method seemed the most cost-effective of all three, and the committee voted their unanimous support for the choice, which Breen would discuss with the NDDOT Friday.

Mayor Sue Steinke asked Breen if the city would be responsible for re-paving the road surface and replacing sidewalks.

"Estimated cost for open trench, does that include fixing everything up afterwards the asphalt and everything?" she asked.

"The project started out just as reconstruction from 2nd St. all the way up to the intersection with 1st, up to that intersection, but since then, we added the full reconstruction from 2nd to 4th," Breen said. "So, we had already planned on reconstructing the asphalt, and the curb and sidewalks through that section of town, so just the cost estimate that is in the email would just be for improvements to the storm sewer. So there's additional the project will have certain costs, sidewalk, etc. The city is not expected to pay any portion of that," Breen answered.

"The city would only be involved in what's underground?" Steinke asked.

"Right," Breen said.

Breen estimated the project would begin next summer, after approval by the NDDOT and bids were awarded. He estimated the project would take six months.

The committee also discussed taking the opportunity to check on and improve aging infrastructure once the construction uncovers it.

"I do have a little bit of a concern about the timing of this project, because by the time you're actually letting bids and starting, you're way into summer, and then, if we still think it's going to happen in 2019, this open trench is going to be in some pretty cold weather months," Steinke said.

Breen also addressed committee member Gary Kraft's concerns about road and sidewalk access to residents near the highway.

"It would be closed to through traffic," Breen said of the highway. "As we get sections completed, or as we get intersections completed, we can maybe open them up to local traffic that use the crossroads. But there would be a detour to through traffic in place for the duration for the duration of the project."

"The sidewalk, the edge of the sidewalk would be adjacent to the right of way right on the right of way," Breen told Kraft. "So, that's why we're looking at temporary easements. We might have to have people standing out there (flaggers), and there might be a little bit of disturbance just because of how close it has to be; but if we anticipate permanently taking any right of way, it would be between 2nd and 4th."

A private side road behind the H.E. Everson store on Highway 3 would also be impacted by plans to put in a turn lane from the highway just to the west. Breen said the improvement would make the turn safer for semis, and encourage traffic to bypass the middle of town, easing flow beneath the underpass. The committee also discussed modifying the highway's turn near the North Cenex station.

"So that's something we'll have a public input meeting (about) so anyone can bring it up," Breen said of access issues "I'm not sure exactly where the state's going, but they want to have everyone's input."

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