Frazee Council gets rave review for quiet zone work
By Barbie Porter
The Frazee City Council hosted two public hearings on Monday, July 19, one for utility work along Lake Street and the other for a railroad quiet zone.
The first public hearing reviewed the water main and sanitary sewer line replacement that is scheduled for 2022. The work will be done in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Transportation State Highway 87 reconstruct project.
The utility project will extend from the city beach to Maple Avenue. In addition to timing the project to be done when the road is already tore up by MnDOT, Kris Carlson, the city engineer, said the existing utility services were installed in 1973. The water main and sewer main are due for replacing and showing wear and tear.
The estimated cost for the water main and sewer main improvements is $852,500. Assessments are typically determined by the front footage of a lot along the street where the work is being done.
Carlson said the estimated assessment on a lot with 80 feet of frontage would be about $19,000. The charge can be paid by property owners up front, or it can be put on the taxes and paid for up to 20 years.
The cost may decrease if the city is awarded grant funding. Carlson said the city has received grant funding for similar projects in the past.
The project time line has the bidding beginning in November with construction starting in May 2022, an assessment hearing in August 2022 and the project finished in September of 2022.
Carlson added normally those living along a street are assessed for street improvements. However, being that Lake Street is a State Highway, the cost for the street work is being fully paid by MnDOT.
The public hearing for the railroad quiet zone is required as part of the process to have a quiet zone in Frazee. The quiet zone would lift the requirement for conductors to blow the train horns at crossings.
Councilman Mark Flemmer said, if the project is approved by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), horns may still be blown at the railroad crossings on Lake Street and Fifth Street.
The project would require divider barriers to be installed along the center line of both streets. The dividers resemble plastic tubes that would be anchored to the road, and can be replaced as needed.
In addition to the dividers, Endeavor Road would need to become a right turn only lane. The road is located between the railroad tracks and All In All. Fencing would also need to be put in place along the railroad near the Lake Street intersection. That project was already part of the State Highway 87 plan.
The estimated cost of the proposed plan is about $30,000, and Flemmer said that estimate is high.
If the FRA approves the plan, the hope is to install the safety devices on the road after the State Highway 87 project is completed.
When asked if the public had any feedback, Frazee resident Jim Nelson said he grew up in Frazee and has lived near the tracks for many years.
“Praise the Lord and praise the council,” he said.