County Road D project approved for 2013 construction season

The Roseville and Shoreview city councils voted to move forward with reconstruction plans on a half-mile stretch of County Road D between Lexington Avenue and Victoria Street. The roadway divides the two municipalities with Shoreview to the north and Roseville to the south.

Shoreview voted on the proposed project on Tuesday, Jan. 22 and Roseville on Monday, Jan. 28.

The nearly $2 million project will include asphalt resurfacing, construction of concrete curbs and gutters, reconstruction of an aging water main, installation of new storm sewers and a new sidewalk on the Roseville side.

Both cities conducted feasibility studies last year for the reconstruction project. Roseville’s feasibility report — authored by City Engineer Debra Bloom — reports that County Road D has only received minor maintenance in the past, such as patching and seal coating. Bloom said that over time the street has deteriorated and has substantial cracking. 

“It’s been low on the city’s priority list for too long,” Bloom said.

Bloom said that the roadway was overlooked by Ramsey County when it was under county jurisdiction as well, because the volume of traffic —  at least at that time —  was lower than other county roads
 Shoreview’s Assistant Engineer Tom Wesolowski said that traffic has increased on the stretch of road in recent years —  an average of 3,000 cars now pass through each day —  putting extra stress on the aging street.

In addition to resurfacing needs, Wesolowski said that the storm sewers, manhole covers, and water mains are old and need replacing as well.

“Some of the water mains in the area date back to the 1890’s,” he said.

Projected cost
Since County Road D is classified as a Municipal State Aid Street a substantial portion of the reconstruction costs will be paid using Municipal State Aid funds. These funds are collected as part of Minnesota’s gas tax revenues.
The remaining portion will be assessed to homeowners and businesses with frontage on the street between Lexington Avenue and Victoria Street.

Roseville has 17 single-family homes on the construction route and Shoreview has 11. However, Roseville residents will pay more in property tax assessments than their Shoreview neighbors on the north side of the street.
“The two cities have different policies on how property tax assessments are made,” Bloom explains.

The average homeowner living along the reconstruction route in Roseville will pay about $5,500, according to Bloom. Shoreview homeowners can expect to pay around $2,800, Wesolowski said.

The disparity in what homeowners will be paying has been a point of contention for many living on the Roseville side of County Road D. Several Roseville residents have told council members that they believe the assessments are unfair at public hearings in the past.

Some homeowners also believe that the construction of a new sidewalk on the south side of the street is unnecessary, because there is already one in place on the north side of the street. But other residents feel that a new sidewalk will provide more safety to pedestrians traveling along the busy thoroughfare, where Emmett D. Williams Elementary School is located.

After some debate between council members at Roseville’s Jan. 28 council meeting the five-member board voted to approve the reconstruction plans along with a continuous sidewalk on the Roseville side of County Road D.

Roseville and Shoreview engineering staff are collaborating with the preparation of final construction plans that they will be presenting to their respective city councils for approval sometime in early March.

The reconstruction project is scheduled to begin in May and will continue through September. Heavy construction will not begin until school lets out for the summer in June, according to Wesolowski.

He said workers may have to temporarily block off a lane here and there, but the road will remain open during reconstruction.

Joshua Nielsen can be reached at jnielsen@lillienews.com or 651-748-7824.

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