County approves contract for consulting services for upcoming Bridge Ave. project

Published 10:01 pm Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a more than $306,000 contract for preparation work in anticipation of the 2020 Bridge Avenue project.

The contract was awarded to SRF Consulting Group to provide the city of Albert Lea and Freeborn County joint consulting services for preliminary design work and environmental documentation to ensure the project meets federal requirements. 

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The contract is expected to be funded by the city for public utility components, with remaining funding provided by the local option sales tax. Freeborn County is expected to be the fiscal host.

The $7.5 million project would stretch from Hammer Road to Marshall Street. Local public employees are not expected to have enough time to complete the work provided by SRF.

The firm is expected to provide traffic evaluation, surveying and mapping, geotechnical information, preliminary design work, required approvals and permits, environmental documentation and identifying right-of-way needs.

An estimated $6 million of the Bridge Avenue project would come through federal dollars.

Freeborn County Highway Engineer Sue Miller said the state’s $35 million investment in local road improvement funding bodes well for the project because of Bridge Avenue’s relatively large daily traffic count.

“That’s a very competitive program, but that is the largest chunk of change the Legislature has ever put into that bonding program,” she said.

On Tuesday evening, District 3 Commissioner Jim Nelson applauded the signing of the contract.

“We just don’t have the staff for all that stuff,” he said. “I think it was a good move.”

Nelson said he expects Miller will try to gather local road improvement funding.

“She’ll probably get some of that, knowing her,” he said.

Nelson said the project has been needed for a long time.

“It’s a major deal out there,” he said.

In other action, the board:

  • Created a temporary position in the auditor-treasurer’s office. The part-time employee will be hired for six months at $16 an hour.
  • Approved a conditional use permit for a recreational cabin.
  • Declared the existence and sale of surplus county property.
  • Approved a lot consolidation.
  • Accepted Public Health Department employee Paulette Beckmen’s retirement and approved refilling her position.
  • Approved refilling the full-time case aide position.
  • Set a June 26 commissioner workshop.
  • Supported District 4 Commissioner Chris Shoff for a second term for the large state National Association of Counties Minnesota delegate.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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