Otsego city officials took a huge step toward making 70th Street Northeast a major thoroughfare in northern Wright County earlier this month, approving contracts and allowing work to begin on a new roadway connecting County Highway 37 to County Highway 19.
Work on land preparation and an eventual roadbed will be conducted by Albertville-based Fehn Companies, as 70th is extended beyond the huge curve at County 37 westward toward McIver Avenue Northeast.
According to city officials: The construction of 70th Street between Martin Farms Avenue and Odean Avenue will provide a critical east-west transportation connection for the community. An off-street trail will be constructed as part of the project for recreation users and non-vehicle transportation.
Otsego’s project originally ended at Oakwood Avenue (where County Highway 37 bends south). However, Wright County has secured federal highway funding to improve existing 70th Street (CSAH 37 to the EAST of the big curve) between Oakwood Avenue and Minnesota Highway 101 starting in 2017 or 2018.
In an effort to minimize overlap of the Wright County and Otsego projects, the city will be completing that portion of the county project from Oakwood Avenue to Odean Avenue this construction season. Wright County and Otsego have agreed that the intersection at Oakwood Avenue and 70th Street – a completely new intersection – will be a roundabout to improve safety, reduce costs now and in the future efficiency and to minimize regional traffic on a city street.
The Otsego City Council has committed to keeping the public informed during the planning and construction process and directed that updates be made available via the city’s website and direct communications with property owners.
The City of Otsego awarded the 70th St Project during the May 11 Council Meeting. A meeting with residents directly impacted and adjacent to the project was held on May 28. A preconstruction meeting was held on June 10. The project is anticipated to start next week (June 15 to June 19) with placement of silt fence and clearing and grubbing of trees. Trees and shrubs to be removed will be marked along the entire section of the project June 15 and June 16. Signage indicating the closure on June 22nd of a section of Wright County 37, from 67thCircle to Odean Avenue, is in place. Detour signage will be installed prior to June 22. Removal of pavement along that section of highway will begin on June 22. The contractor has stated they plan to work on the County 37 improvements including the roundabout first, in order to remove the detour route as soon as possible. The contractor will continue working east to west but may at times work in areas not within existing streets (open field areas) to continue progress. Temporary mailboxes will be installed in three locations: Residents will have their mailboxes located at the west end of 77th St near MacAllister Avenue. Oakwood Avenue residents will have their mailboxes located along 67th Circle near Oakwood Avenue (CSAH 37) and CSAH 37/70th Street residents mailboxes will be located on Odean Avenue just south of CSAH 37.
The construction of 70th Street is funded by Minnesota State Aid funding, which cities having a population of 5,000 or more receive from state gas tax revenue. The city also received a $800,000 grant from the Federal government in recognition of the regional significance of the 70th Street connection betweenHighway 101 and Interstate94. Wright County and Otsego have entered into an agreement regarding cost sharing and reimbursement for the portion of the project the city is constructing for Wright County from Oakwood Avenue to Odean Avenue. No general property tax dollars or other city funds are being used to fund the 70thStreet project.
The Otsego and Wright County, along with the City of Albertville, are planning to pursue additional federal funds to reconstruction the last section of 70th Street that has not been upgraded to State Aid standards from LaBeaux Avenue (Wright County 19) to MacIver Avenue. Once that section is complete, a direct route from Minnesota 101 to Wright 19 will meet State Aid standards.
The 70th Street project has been planned for by Otsego and Wright County for more than 20 years. Construction has already been completed on the westerly one-half mile of the roadway from MacIver Avenue to Marin Farms Avenue with the remaining two miles to be constructed and open for traffic in 2015. Finalization of the project would occur in 2016. The Otsego City Council held several public information meetings to receive input from adjacent property owners in laying out the specific routing of the street and its design. Specific effort has been made by the City to shift the roadway to maximize the distance between the street/trail from existing homes, minimize right-of-way needs, and avoid impacts to existing trees and wetlands while complying with State requirements regarding the width, speed limit and capacity of the arterial street. The exhibits linked to the right illustrate the project location and design and were shown at the most recent public information meeting held for adjacent landowners.
The City of Otsego and Wright County, along with neighboring cities have agreed that once the construction is completed for this project, 70th St. jurisdiction will transfer from the City of Otsego to Wright County. The existing Wright County Highway 37 south of 70th Street also will continue to be a County road for the foreseeable future.