Variolite Street Reconstruction IP 20-01

Update September 11, 2020

During the week of September 8-11, the Contractor installed deep sanitary sewer, to date 5 of 8 sanitary sewer manholes have been installed. The Contractor completed installation of storm sewer culverts under the side streets adjacent to Variolite Street. The Contractor fixed the erosion control in several locations which had been impacted by the utility installations, and the rain events which have occurred over the last several weeks. 

During the week of September 14-18, the Contractor will continue to install deep sanitary sewer. The current schedule has them completing this work on Friday, September 18. The Contactor will begin bituminous reclamation of Variolite Street, starting at Alpine Drive. The reclaim material is shaped and compacted, generally leaving the road passable. Residents with direct access to Variolite Street may experience temporary delays while equipment passes driveways and side streets.

The City is committed to working cooperatively with property owners and the general public to minimize concerns and impacts during construction. Please feel free to email Joe Feriancek or call at 763-433-9893 for any concerns or questions related to this project. For questions directly related to construction, please email City project inspector Aaron Madsen or call at 763-433-9873.

Update September 4, 2020

During the week of August 31 through September 4, the Contractor finished installing the 12” trunk watermain between 166th Avenue and 173rd Avenue. Side street storm sewer culverts were installed at the intersections of 158th Avenue, 163rd Lane, and 164th Lane. Deep sanitary sewer construction was completed to north of 164th Lane.

During the week of September 8-11, the Contractor will continue to install deep sanitary sewer from south of 165th Lane to the north towards 166th Avenue. As the work goes further north, the depth of the excavation to install the sewer will increase. The deeper excavation is more hazardous, and we continue to ask vehicles to observe the "road closed to thru traffic" signs. The Contractor may begin connecting the watermain valves and hydrants between 166th Avenue and 173rd Avenue, with work depending on the progress of the sanitary sewer construction.

Update August 28, 2020

During the week of August 24-28, the Contractor installed the 12” trunk watermain between 166th Avenue and 173rd Avenue. Approximately 600 lineal feet of watermain remains to be installed. The deep sanitary sewer has been installed between 163rd Avenue and 163rd Lane, high ground water has continued to slow construction.

During the week of August 31 through September4, the Contractor will continue to construct the deep sanitary sewer, working north towards 166th Avenue. Additional dewatering wells have been installed, which should assist in lowering the ground water elevation. The Contractor will plan to finish installing the 12” trunk watermain between 166th Avenue and 173rd. The next steps in the watermain installation will be to dig pits at the valve and hydrant locations and make the connections. Timing of this work is dependent on the progress of the sanitary sewer construction. Construction on the side street storm sewer culverts between 163rd Avenue and 166th Avenue may also begin, with work being dependent on the progress of the sanitary sewer construction.

The City is committed to working cooperatively with property owners and the general public to minimize concerns and impacts during construction. Please feel free to email Joe Feriancek or call at 763-433-9893 for any concerns or questions related to this project. For questions directly related to construction, please email City project inspector Aaron Madsen or call at 763-433-9873.

Update August 20, 2020

During the week of August 17-21, the Contractor started the deep sanitary sewer. On Wednesday progress was stopped due to groundwater elevation, and the sanitary sewer pipe crew left the site while dewatering continues. On Thursday, the watermain pipe crew mobilized to the project site to begin the 12” trunk watermain improvements between 166th Avenue and 173rd Avenue. Before horizontally boring into the ground, the watermain is fused together, this process is being done on Variolite Street near 168th Avenue. The pipe is fused into lengths between 500 and 1,100 feet long, and stored on the side of Variolite Street. Warning barriers with flashers for night visibility will be next to the pipe. The operation includes digging bore pits, horizontally boring out to lengths between 500 and 1,100 feet, and pulling back the watermain pipe under Variolite Street. Additional Pits are required to connect the segments of pipe, and to connect valves and hydrants. Residents with access off of Variolite Street between 166th Avenue and 173rd Avenue may encounter temporary interruptions with access to their driveways. Variolite Street is closed to thru traffic, if residents must use Variolite Street for access to their properties we ask that you use caution.

During the week of August 24-28, the Contractor will continue to install the 12” trunk watermain between 166th Avenue and 173rd Avenue. The Contractor is beginning the work at 166th Avenue and working north towards 173rd Avenue. The Contractor will continue to construct the deep sanitary sewer beginning Monday August 24, at 163rd Avenue and work towards 166th Avenue.

The City is committed to working cooperatively with property owners and the general public to minimize concerns and impacts during construction. Please feel free to email Joe Feriancek or call at 763-433-9893 for any concerns or questions related to this project. For questions directly related to construction, please email City project inspector Aaron Madsen or call at 763-433-9873.

Update August 14, 2020

During the week of August 10-14, the Contractor finished installing silt fence for all of the project site. Erosion will be monitored throughout construction and maintained, replaced, or adjusted as necessary to prevent erosion. Dewatering equipment continued to run throughout the week, but the Contractor was not able to start construction of the deep sanitary sewer, as dewatering did not lower the water table far enough yet.

During the week of August 17-21, the Contractor will start deep sanitary sewer construction. This is proposed to begin Monday morning at 163rd Avenue, and continue to the north towards 166th Avenue. Deep sanitary sewer construction is expected to take 3-4 weeks to complete.

Update August 7, 2020

During the week of August 3-7, the Contractor finished reclaiming the street and has hauled off excess reclaim material between 163rd Avenue and 166th Avenue. This material was brought to three locations across the City, and will be used by the City Public Works on various projects throughout the year. Dewatering has been set up in this same stretch of road and is running. The pumps are run with diesel engines, with sound proofing; residents may hear a constant hum coming from the dewatering equipment.

During the week of August 10-14, the Contractor will begin to bring in the sanitary sewer pipe and manholes necessary for the deep sewer construction to the project site. This construction is proposed to begin on Wednesday, August 12, and occur between 163rd Avenue and 166th Avenue. Deep sanitary sewer construction is expected to take 3-4 weeks to complete, with depth of sewer ranging from 14 to 24 feet deep. This will create a large excavation hole, for safety Variolite Street is closed to thru traffic between 163rd Avenue and 166th Avenue. Vehicles driving through the construction zone create a hazard for both themselves and workers, and we ask drivers to avoid driving around the road closed signs.

Update July 31, 2020

During the week of July 27 – 31, the Contractor set up traffic control for Variolite Street between Alpine Drive and 173rd Avenue. The Contractor focused construction efforts within the sanitary sewer construction area between 163rd Avenue and 166th Avenue. This area received erosion control and the bituminous pavement was reclaimed. Variolite Street is closed to thru traffic for this stretch of road, and though the reclaim will be maintained over the weekend, it is preferred to have residents stay off Variolite Street to the extent possible. The Contractor is also constructing the temporary access road between 164th Lane and 165th Lane, and this will be complete before the next phase of construction will begin.

 

During the week of August 3-7, the Contractor’s main efforts will continue to be within the sanitary sewer construction area between 163rd Avenue and 166th Avenue. The reclaim material within this area will be hauled off-site. Residents should expect to see an increase in truck traffic due to this hauling. Dewatering of the subsoil will be set up, and require a sub cut. The dewatering equipment is proposed to be set up on the west side of Variolite Street. The sub cut and dewatering equipment will make access for residents on Variolite Street between 163rd Avenue and 166th Avenue more difficult, but access will be maintained. Resident may encounter minor delays as construction occurs in front of their driveways and side streets. For specific questions related to access, please contact City project inspector Aaron Madsen by phone at 763-433-9873.


Update July 17, 2020

On Thursday, July 16 the City conducted a pre-construction meeting with Park Construction. During this meeting Park Construction provided information which included contact information, proposed project schedules, method of construction, traffic plans and other miscellaneous construction related items. After that meeting a letter was drafted and mailed to 439 adjacent property owners to share the information in more detail. You may view the letter here.

The City is committed to working cooperatively with property owners and the general public to minimize concerns and impacts during construction. Please feel free to email Joe Feriancek or call at 763-433-9893 for any concerns or questions related to this project. For questions directly related to construction, please email City project inspector Aaron Madsen or call at 763-433-9873.

This page will be updated as new information becomes available.

Update June 12, 2020

The City of Ramsey has developed plans for the reconstruction of Variolite Street between Alpine Drive and 173rd Avenue in 2020. The bituminous pavement on Variolite Street is in very poor condition and requires total reconstruction. The street totals approximately 12,000 linear feet (2.28 miles) in length. A figure showing the location and scope of the proposed improvements which can be viewed here and is included on the cover sheet of the plans.

On September 10, 2019, the City Council authorized Staff to execute two proposals. Hakanson Anderson and Associates’ proposal for required topographic survey, spanning across the entire City-owned right-of-way of Variolite and into the adjacent cross streets. In addition, Northern Technologies Inc. proposal for required geotechnical work, including 61 soil and pavement borings spaced 100 to 500 feet along Variolite Street. This work was completed in the fall of 2019 and was necessary to allow the project to be completed in 2020.

On December 10, 2019, the City Council ordered the City Engineer to prepare a feasibility report to explore the necessity feasibility and cost-effectiveness of the proposed improvements by examining the existing conditions, scope of the proposed improvements, design alternatives, estimated costs and available funding sources, and determining whether the improvements should be completed as proposed or in connection with other improvements.

Following discussions with the Public Works Committee in 2019 and 2020, explored options for reducing speeds and improving pedestrian accommodations along Variolite Street in response to input received from area residents. According to the residents, excessive vehicle speeds have been observed along Variolite Street, and pedestrians do not feel safe trying to cross Variolite Street at 161st Avenue. The residents live in the Sweetbay Ridge and Woodlands residential neighborhoods and cross Variolite Street to go to Central Park or the regional trail along Armstrong Boulevard.

While preparing the Feasibility Report, Staff explored options for traffic calming along Variolite Street and pedestrian crosswalk improvements at 161st Avenue. Based on the analysis completed, Staff recommended reconstructing Variolite Street “as is” north of 163rd Lane, but reducing the overall pavement width from 40-feet to 34-feet south of 163rd Lane, allowing for a posted speed limit reduction from 50 mph to 40 mph. Staff also recommended constructing an 8-foot wide raised concrete pedestrian refuge island in the center of Variolite Street, north of 161st Avenue. This will improve pedestrian safety by allowing pedestrians to focus on one lane of travel at a time, by decreasing the overall distance a pedestrian needs to cross at one time, and by reducing vehicle speeds.

On April 14, 2020, the City Council accepted the Feasibility Report, which can be viewed here, and ordered final plans and specifications which were prepared with the following considerations.

Pavement Improvements

Variolite Street is a Municipal State Aid (MSA) street and must be reconstructed to current MSA design standards as regulated by the State Aid Division of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Given the MSA 9-ton pavement design requirement, the potential for heavy truck traffic, and the varying subgrade soils encountered along the corridor, the pavement was designed as a Stabilized Full Depth Reclamation (SFDR) with 4-inches of new bituminous pavement placed on top.

The surface elevation of Variolite Street generally remains unchanged. The new pavement width remains the same north of 163rd Lane, but will generally be 6-feet narrower south of 163rd Lane to facilitate a reduced posted speed limit of 40 mph. The pavement width at 161st Avenue will be 50-feet to accommodate the pedestrian crosswalk and turn lane improvements, and will transition back to a width of 34-feet within several hundred feet on both sides of the intersection.

To properly transition from the new edge of pavement to adjoining side streets and driveways, some paving work on side streets and driveways will be required, though such work is proposed to occur within City-owned right of way and easements, not on private property. In the unlikely event work needs to occur on private property, Staff will work with affected property owners to complete all work to the property owner’s satisfaction.

A segment of Variolite Street just north of Trott Brook about 150-feet long has been repaired several times over the years due to damage resulting from high groundwater. At times, groundwater has been observed flowing up through cracks in the pavement. To help prevent similar damage in the future, 4-inch perforated PVC drain tile will be installed under the new pavement section to drain the groundwater into the drainage ditches.

Stormwater Improvements

Stormwater is generally conveyed through existing drainage ditches along both sides of Variolite Street, with culverts extending under driveways, abutting side streets, and under Variolite Street at low points. Several culverts will be replaced with this project, though driveway culverts are not proposed to be replaced.

Municipal Utility Improvements

Trunk utility improvements are proposed with this project including the replacement of existing 10-inch force main trunk sanitary sewer with 21-inch gravity trunk sewer between 163rd Avenue and 166th Avenue, and the extension of 12-inch trunk watermain from 166th Avenue to 173rd Avenue. These improvements are consistent with the 2040 City of Ramsey Comprehensive Plan in support of future expansion of City sewer and water to northern areas of the City to serve future development, and are proposed to be constructed with this project to prevent unnecessary street reconstruction costs in the future.

Alternate Bids

Alternate Bid A - Specifies construction of a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) pedestrian actuated signal system with advance warning signs. This signal system utilizes flashing amber lights both at the pedestrian crosswalk and hundreds of feet in advance to alert drivers that a pedestrian is using the crosswalk. Attached are pictures of the existing RRFB at Armstrong Boulevard and Riverdale Drive for reference.

Alternate Bid B - Specifies construction of directionally bored high-density polyethylene (HDPE) watermain in lieu of open trenching ductile-iron pipe (DIP) watermain as specified in the base bid

Property Access

During the design process, Staff made every effort to keep all work within existing right of ways and easements and does not anticipate construction impacts to private properties. However, due to the nature of construction there will be temporary interruptions to access of driveways and side streets that directly access Variolite Street.

Sanitary sewer construction will be over 20-feet deep in areas between 163rd Avenue and 166th Avenue so Variolite Street will need to be closed to traffic during this construction. However, a temporary access road will be for the four (4) properties on 165th Lane, and for the properties with direct access to Variolite Street along this stretch. These residents have no other way of accessing their properties. Due to the depth of the sewer construction there may be periods of up to several hours when direct access to properties will not be available, though all residents will be able to access their property by the end of each work day. Staff will work closely with these residents during construction to minimize access interruptions.

In general, access will be maintained as best as practical during construction, and at the end of each workday all properties will be accessible. Access for emergency services will also be maintained throughout construction.

A public information meeting has not been conducted for this project due to the current COVID-19 pandemic does not allow for large in-person gatherings. Instead, letters were mailed on April 16th to 438 property owners most directly impacted by this project, including all properties with direct access onto Variolite Street and properties whose local streets directly connect to Variolite Street. A copy of this letter can be viewed here. This letter informed property owners of the proposed project, provided basic information on the project, and provided a link to this web page where more information is available, including contact information for City Staff working on the project. A second letter was mailed on May 7th to the 16 property owners who either directly access Variolite Street or live on 165th Lane. A copy of this letter can be viewed here. This letter informed the property owners of pending access interruptions associated with the deep sewer construction.

On June 5, 2020, five bids were received, opened, and tabulated, and were found to comply with the advertisement for bids. On June 9, 2020, the City awarded the construction contract for this street reconstruction project to Park Construction Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It will take approximately three weeks to execute the contract, schedule and conduct a preconstruction meeting, install advice construction signing, and mobilize equipment to the site. Construction should therefore start in July, and be substantially complete by November 30, 2020.

During the preconstruction meeting, the Contractor will provide information to the City including contact information for themselves and their subcontractors, a detailed project schedule, their hours and methods of construction, their plans for traffic control, and other construction related information. When construction is ready to begin, new letters will be mailed to the same 438 property owners to provide information on the proposed construction schedule, as well as new contact information during construction.

If you have questions, please contact Civil Engineer II, Joe Feriancek by email or by phone at 763-433-9893 with any questions related to this project in general.

Construction is currently anticipated to begin in early July. This web site will also be updated regularly during construction.