City set to look at final plans for Broadway

Published 10:46 am Thursday, November 15, 2012

Albert Lea city staff and members of the Bolton & Menk Inc. engineering firm on Monday will present the proposed final designs for the downtown Broadway streetscape project.

The designs include recommendations for street lights, Fountain Lake Park, plazas and the bumpouts that have divided community opinions. Bumpouts extend a curb farther into the street at intersections, reducing crossing distance for pedestrians, are less expensive than stoplights and allow right turns only from the street center.

Steven Jahnke

The meeting is slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Albert Lea City Council Chambers at City Hall. Members of the public will be given time to comment on the designs after a brief presentation.

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“If you have any issues, let us know about them,” City Engineer Steven Jahnke said.

He said there have been several modifications to the plazas and park since the last meeting.

According to city officials, the project in its entirety is estimated at about $4.08 million and calls for reconstruction of the street, utilities and sidewalks of Broadway from Main Street to Fountain Street, along with other decorative elements such as street lighting, proposed plazas, bumpouts and a redevelopment of Fountain Lake Park.

The project is being proposed because of the age of the underground utilities and street. The existing sanitary sewer, watermain and storm sewer systems in Broadway are more than 80 years old and in need of replacement. The existing street was originally constructed in 1933 out of concrete and has been overlaid with blacktop in 1956, 1975 and 2002, according to city staff.

While most people agree about the need to replace the underground utilities and street because of their age, the community is more divided on what to do about the other amenities above ground.

The City Council is slated to meet about the designs at its Nov. 26 meeting.

If the project moves forward according to plan, the city will bid and award the contract in February or March with construction to begin in April or May.

For more information, call the city Engineering Department at 377-4325.