City close to accepting bid to replace aging bridge

Published 5:01 pm Sunday, July 31, 2016

A deficient bridge built in 1932 is ticking toward a fall replacement project.

The Austin City Council is set to select a bid for replacement of the Oakland Place Southeast bridge, which spans Dobbins Creek on the southern end of East Side Lake, during its 5:30 p.m. Monday meeting at Austin City Hall, 5001 Fourth Ave. NE.

ICON Construction LLC bid about $2.6 million for the project, which is slated to include a 52-foot bridge, a 10-foot sidewalk on the north side, a 6-foot sidewalk on the south side, roadway approaches, decorative lighting, improvements at the Oakland-14th Street intersection and retaining walls between the bridge and the East Side Lake Dam.

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The city will cover the $130,000 retaining walls, $250,000 approach pavements and $45,000 for a total of $425,000.

State bridge bonding and county funding will cover the rest of the project.

The project is one of the early bridges being constructed through Vision 2020’s Visual Quality Manual, which is the Gateway to Austin Committee’s plan to beautify bridges on key roads in Austin. In February, the county board unanimously voted to move forward with $289,000 of $437,000 in project additions proposed.

The county will cover $100,000 to widen the bridge to make room for the 10-foot wide bike/walking path and $30,000 for additional lights. But the board did not include $112,000 for architectural surface treatments and $29,000 for an ornamental railing.

The work increased the county’s local share of the project from $250,000 to $339,000, but the city and state will contribute too.

The county had been promised about $1.75 million in state bonding funds toward the roughly $2 million in basic costs for the bridge replacement.

The county currently handles all the bridge replacements in the county — including on city and township roads — based on a more than 100-year-old standard.

Since the bridge is on a city road and not a county state aid highway, the local share of the project has to come through property tax dollars. Gas tax dollars can’t be used.

A City Council work session will follow Monday’s regular meeting.

The county board also needs to approve the bid for the Oakland Place bridge replacement.

In other business, the City Council is slated to:

—officially finalize and Austin Public Library plant to purchase an additional 50 Wi-Fi hotspots,

—establish the Austin Housing Initiative to offer a five-year abatement on property taxes after Austin Public Schools and the Mower County board agreed to the plans,

—discuss changes to the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency’s agreement,

—rank 2017 Hormel Foundation grant requests,

—discuss a flood property acquisition in southwest Austin.