City Council Minutes of August 4, 2014

August 4, 2014



AUGUST 4, 2014


Pursuant to due call and notice thereof, a special meeting of the City Council of the City of Saint Peter was conducted in the Governors' Room of the Community Center on August 4, 2014.

A quorum present, Mayor pro tem Brand called the special meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.  The following members were present:  Councilmembers Carlin, Grams, Kvamme, Brand, Parras, and Zieman.  Absent was Mayor Strand.  The following officials were present: City Administrator Prafke and City Attorney Brandt.

Highway 169 Detour –   City Administrator Prafke explained that a special meeting had been called to consider the request from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)  to detour all car traffic from Highway 169 onto Old Minnesota Avenue from the northern intersection with Highway 169 to Union Street.  Prafke indicated MnDOT had made the request in an effort to allow the Highway 169 project contractor to make up approximately 4 weeks of work that had been lost due to heavy rains and flooding at the beginning of the project.    Prafke also noted that it was important to the Saint Peter community and to MnDOT to ensure the Highway project was completed this construction season.  Prafke reported he had reviewed with MnDOT officials the concerns raised at the open house event and the City’s concerns related to topics such as ensuring the detour was removed before school begins; providing for access to businesses along the detour route; providing a safe area for pedestrians and bicyclists; refuse collection; mail delivery; safety of children in the Green Valley mobile home park; trucks backing up into businesses; and emergency vehicle access.

Councilmembers had extensive discussion about the concerns raised by residents along the detour route, penalties that would imposed on the contractor if the deadline to finish before school began was missed; and whether or not the Highway contractor was working at full capacity for the days and hours they were contracted to work.  City Administrator Prafke reminded Councilmembers that the contractor works for MnDOT and not the City and MnDOT has heard the public’s concerns related to the contractor and was encouraging the contractor to work harder, faster and longer on the project.  Prafke also pointed out that the City’s goal is to work with MnDOT to get the Highway project completed in one construction season and detouring traffic puts MnDOT in a better position to do so.

Project Engineer Zachary Tess of MnDOT indicated they were reviewing the actual days lost with the contractor and reminded the Council that as things now stand, the contractor would be unable to finish the project this construction season and that would mean only the northbound lanes of Highway 169 would be open throughout the winter which was certain to cause safety issues.

Tess also indicated that MnDOT continues to work with the City to address issues, however if the Council chose not to approve the detour, MnDOT would most likely detour the traffic west of Saint Peter on a route which had even more safety concerns including higher rates of speed, hidden driveways and substantial curves in the roadway.

Marie Dranttel, 34697 Daisy Lane, addressed the Council to suggest the detour be made west of Saint Peter similar to what has previously been used when Highway 169 was flooded or under construction.  Dranttel also expressed concerns that MnDOT’s discussion with residents of Green Valley Trailer Court were done when most residents were not at home.

Maureen Scholl, 41193 Cedar Ridge Road, expressed concerns that those living along the detour route outside of the City limits had not received adequate notification of the proposed detour and questioned why taking traffic off only 1-1.5 miles of the 10 miles or so of Highway 169 between Saint Peter and Le Sueur would be enough to allow the contractor to catch up.  Scholl also commented that the contractor was currently using sections of Old Minnesota Avenue to bypass highway traffic and expressed concerns about damage to Old Minnesota Avenue which she said had not received any maintenance effort except for seal coating in over 50 years.

John Dranttel, representing Traverse Township, questioned why the Council was wasting time with the special meeting when the signs for the detour had been put up already.

Tim Samuelson, 41134 Old Minnesota Avenue, expressed concerns about whether traffic would be able to make the “double 90” transition from Highway 169 to Old Minnesota Avenue and encouraged the Council to leave traffic the way it is.

A motion was made by Carlin, seconded by Kvamme, to introduce a Resolution entitled “Resolution Authorizing Execution Of Agreement No. 06528 With Minnesota Department Of Transportation For Detour Of Highway 169 Traffic To Old Minnesota Avenue And Broadway Avenue”.  A motion was made by Brand, seconded by Parras, to modify the resolution by insertion of language that would call for all Highway 169 traffic being detoured to the proposed truck detour route.  Councilmember Carlin questioned why, if the primary concerns about the Old Minnesota Avenue detour were safety related, would the Council consider detouring all traffic to come into Saint Peter on Broadway Avenue which had more residential properties than Old Minnesota Avenue.  Councilmember Kvamme indicated he was uncomfortable moving all traffic to Broadway Avenue without giving notice to residents along Broadway of the proposed change and allowing them a chance to express concerns.  On the motion, with Councilmembers Parras and Brand voting aye; Councilmembers Zieman, Carlin, Grams and Kvamme voting nay, the motion failed.

Upon roll call of the original resolution, Councilmembers Kvamme and Carlin voting aye, Councilmembers Parras, Brand, Grams and Zieman voting nay, the resolution failed. 

There being no further business, a motion was made by Zieman, seconded by Grams, to adjourn.  With all in favor, the motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 6:30 p.m.