MANKATO — Residents, other property owners and drivers along Record, Shaubut, North Fifth and Cherry streets will see the roads closed for months as they are excavated to their century-old sewer and water pipes and then rebuilt.
"Some of the utilities on North Fifth date to the 1890s and Record dates to the 1910s," said senior civil engineer Michael McCarty.
Shaubut Street's turn will come in 2019, which — in conjunction with Record Street — will complete a two-decade effort to rebuild the utilities and streets in the historic Lincoln Park neighborhood of Mankato. The effort began in the 1990s with Pleasant and Van Brunt streets and should mean that only the toddlers in the residential area will be around when the utilities need to be replaced again.
Public Works Director Jeff Johnson said the neighborhood's streets will be seal-coated in coming years, resurfaced in coming decades but shouldn't need to be reconstructed down to the sewer and water pipes until nearly the 22nd century. Those utilities are expected to last about 80 years.
The $2 million Record Street project, including assessments of nearly $330,000 on adjoining properties, will cover the entire six-block length of the street from South Front to Shaubut. Construction will run from May to October.
North Fifth Street, which is projected to cost $1.25 million, also will be under construction from May to October and also completes a multi-year effort to modernize the infrastructure of a neighborhood. The 2018 reconstruction of Fifth from Main Street to Washington Street comes a year after Fifth was reconstructed from Main to Cherry and follows previous work from Washington to Madison Avenue.
The storm sewer replacement will improve drainage for a broad area around Fifth Street and eliminate the condition where extreme rains blow manhole covers off. Angled parking also will be installed in front of SS. Peter and Paul's Catholic Church.
Bassett and Adams
A couple of other street projects will be much less extensive and much quicker to complete, but they're heavily traveled — more than 5,000 vehicles a day on each. Bassett Drive will be resurfaced from Belle Avenue (near Aldi) to Highway 22. On Adams Street, the work will be done between Star Street and Raintree Road just to the west of River Hills Mall. In both cases, the driving surface isn't visibly deteriorating but has deeper flaws that need to be addressed to avoid more expensive repairs later, Johnson said.
Adams might be able to be fixed with lane restrictions, but Bassett will have to be closed to traffic — most likely in consecutive phases rather than all at once — for a few days or a couple of weeks for each segment.
"That's a long stretch to completely shut down," McCarty said.
In all, nearly $8.5 million in street work is planned for next year.
In 2019, the number grows to $11.7 million and several will be quite disruptive.
Cherry Street will be completely reconstructed in 2019 from Front Street to Hanover Street (essentially where Cherry merges with Glenwood Avenue) at a cost of $2.9 million.
The utilities and pavement on that stretch of Cherry are nearing the end of their useful life, and pedestrian improvements are also needed. Johnson said engineering staff will look at the possibility of more trees, wider sidewalks and decorative features similar to what's seen on other downtown streets.
The May-to-October construction will divert more than 8,000 vehicles a day.
"So, it'll be a headache. I shouldn't say 'headache.' They're 'challenging,'" Johnson said of downtown street projects.
Downtown drivers might get a one-year reprieve on the Cherry Street disruption. The project would likely be delayed if Blue Earth County hasn't finished its expanded Government Center project by spring of 2019.
"We don't want to put a new street in and then see it torn up by heavy equipment," he said.
Germania Park makeover
The Germania Park neighborhood off of Third Avenue will see the first of a multi-year street redevelopment project. Just less than $1.9 million is planned for 2019, focused on Spruce and Chestnut streets and Fourth, Fifth and Sixth avenues.
The neighborhood, built on bedrock, has aging clay sewers that are prone to leaking and will be replaced with PVC pipe. The cast-iron water mains are susceptible to freezing and breaking and aren't large enough to provide optimum fire protection.
Poplar Street from the intersection with Riverfront Drive (near Burger King) is set for a 2019 reconstruction to the Union Pacific trestle at Sibley Parkway. Along with a new road surface, the nearly $1 million project will bring a replacement for a deteriorating sewer main that serves west Mankato and South Bend Township. The leaky pipe is allowing groundwater to seep in and flow to the sewage treatment plant, a problem known as inflow and infiltration.
Along with the previously mentioned Shaubut Street reconstruction, 2019 will bring the reconstruction of Hazel Street in west Mankato. The two-block street runs from Moreland Avenue to West Eighth Street.
Other projects which have been written about previously in The Free Press are on the 2019 list, including roundabouts at the north and south ramps at Highway 14 and Riverfront Drive, a roundabout at Haefner Drive and Madison Avenue, and a test project to see how drivers react to reduction of Riverfront from four lanes to three from downtown through Old Town.
Details on the construction plans will be available at an open house at 6 p.m. Thursday in the banquet hall of the civic center.