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City talks 71, southeast infrastructure projects

The city of Wadena expects a deal when it goes out for bids on the U.S. Highway 71 (South Jefferson reconstruction) project this year.

"Contractors are hungry," said Jade Berube with Ulteig Engineers. "A lot more bidders are coming out for these projects."

The project was expected to be about $1.36 million based on last year's bids, and will include the reconstruction of the street around Irving and Lincoln Avenues with some minor curb adjustment.

That project is slated to start in early July and should take about three months to complete, Berube said. The sharp curve as Jefferson leads out of town south on 71 will be made more gradual.

The landowners will be assessed about 20 percent of the cost applicable to their properties.

Berube also talked to the council about approving preliminary engineering costs for the reconstruction of the infrastructure in the southeast part of the city. That project is significantly larger, he said, affecting 62 blocks (compared to 13 blocks for the Jefferson project.)

"If an opportunity comes up for stimulus funding or some other source, we have to have the preliminary engineering done," City Administrator Brad Swenson explained.

Councilman Toby Pierce argued that the cost of the preliminary engineering paid to Ulteig Engineers should be negotiable -- and wanted to seek a better deal just like the city expects to get from the contractors bidding on the city's work. But the council voted to approve a straight fee of $13,000 for Ulteig for the project over Pierce's no vote.