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Paynesville Press - July 3, 2002

Lake Avenue project should begin in August

By Ryan Flanders

updated intersection between 55 and 124 The intersection of Highway 124 with Highway 55 on the southeast side of town will change dramatically once Highway 124 is reconstructed this summer.

The two merging lanes onto and off of Highway 55 will be removed, and the intersection between 124 and 55 will be turned into a safer, perpendicular intersection with Co. Rd. 181 on the other side.

After the construction, the state of Minnesota is turning back responsibility for Highway 124 to Stearns County. In the process, the state is providing the county with funds for the improvement of the road, which will be done in cooperation with the city of Paynesville.

During construction, Highway 124 will be closed to the public. The detour through town will use Highways 23 and 55, taking thru traffic all the way to the west side of town.

The city will also take this opportunity to enlarge the water main in the area south of Highway 23, which will enable the city to provide better water service to the downtown area and to the Morningside Addition. Sidewalk, curb and gutter, and storm sewer will also be installed.

The city is also building a stormwater retention pond.

Although the sidewalk will add extra width, the road itself is getting no wider. The sidewalk, curb, and gutter will begin at Highway 23 and end at First Street South on the east side and at County Road 34 on the west side. There will be slight changes in the grade of the road to accomodate for the slope of the curb and gutter.

In the past, the city's policy has been to assess half of the street and sewer cost to bordering property owners. This time, however, it isn't so simple.

Based on the average assessment rates of the last four city projects, property owners can expect to pay around $1,500 for the sanitary sewer and the water main. The city originally looked at assessing for the street as well, but it now appears that the city will not assess for the road but will assess for the stormwater pond. (See separate assessment story on page 1.)

Property owners will be mailed their exact assessment rates sometime in the fall. They can then make comments at the final assessment hearing, which will be held shortly after the mailing, where the final assessments will be established.

Bidding for the Lake Avenue project will take place in July, and construction should begin in mid to late August. Construction should be mostly complete by the end of the year, with the possible exception of the final layer of pavement and the re-seeding of lawns.

Upon completion of the project, the road's name will be changed to County Highway 66. There will be no change in speed limit.

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