Work on the 20th Avenue Southeast reconstruction and realignment project wraps up at the end of this month, but additional work on phase two at the 13th Street Southeast intersection begins Wednesday.
Thirteenth Street will close to traffic on the south side of U.S. Highway 2 & 52 for installation of a box culvert and will remain closed until September, said Justin Thurn, project manager with Keller Paving. Traffic will be detoured onto 31st Avenue Southeast, which is undergoing a chip and seal project. That maintenance job is expected to be brief.
Contractors have been patching areas of settling on 20th Avenue and still must chip and seal the street before the project is finished. Motorists have been using the street and will continue to be able to do so through the project's completion.
The original completion date on 20th Avenue was last Nov. 15. Under the contract with the city, Keller Paving must pay damages of $88,000 for missing the completion date. Thurn said complications related to the phasing of the project and weather-related delays in October forced the work to continue into this summer.
The Minot City Council voted 10-3 Monday to approve spending an additional $55,149 on engineering services related to the 20th Avenue project.
Alan Estvold with Ackerman-Estvold Engineering of Minot said his firm originally asked for about $80,000 to cover changes in the scope of the work. The work increased because of extra negotiations with the North Dakota Department of Transportation engineers, who felt the avenue warranted only three lanes rather than the five that the city was successful in getting, he said. There also was extra work associated with a right-of-way dispute and the delay in the project's completion.
The city engineering department agreed to request only the $55,149 from the council.
Aldermen Scott Knudsvig, Chuck Barney and Aaron Vibeto didn't support paying more for engineering than the maximum in the contract. Aldermen voting to pay the additional amount were Randy Burckhard, Mark Jantzer, Ron Boen, Dean Somerville, Dave Lehner, Larry Frey, Hardy Lieberg, Bob Miller, Dean Frantsvog and Tim Greenheck.
The council also voted to grant Minot Milling a five-year property tax exemption on a new flour warehouse. The 100 percent exemption the first year gradually decreases to 20 percent by the fifth year before expiring. The exemption would affect taxes collected by Ward County and Nedrose School District as well as the city.
The council adopted changes to the city employees' pension plan that reduce pension benefits and tighten the rules for vestment and pay-outs for employees hired after July 6. Current employees will see no change. The adjustments aim to strengthen the fund by increasing the reserves needed to pay future claims.
The council's meeting time would change from 7 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. under an ordinance passed on first reading. If approved by the council at its July 6 meeting, the time change would take effect beginning in August. Meetings would continue to be held the first Monday of the month.
Aldermen have discussed changing the time to make it easier for the public to attend and still get to other community activities on those evenings.