What work is proposed?

The project, proposed for construction in 2020, will include the complete removal and reconstruction of all the underground city utilities (sewer, water and storm), the reconstruction of the street and sidewalk and the installation of new street lighting. Also included with the project will be some streetscaping and landscaping features. The project will extend from Highway 21 on the west end to 7th Avenue SE on the east end.  Total project length is 0.95 miles.

How long will the project take?

The project is expected to begin construction early in the spring of 2020 and will take the entire 2020 construction season to be substantially completed. Parts of the project may be open or opened to cross traffic as the project progresses.  Some landscaping and finish work might extend into the following season.

Where will the work begin? 

Exact order of operations will depend on the contractor hired for the project. The contractor will not be known until the project is bid and awarded in the fall of 2019.  The work is however expected to begin at the west end of the project with work progressing towards the east. It is likely a second crew might begin work near Memorial park and work towards the west.

What will the construction phasing look like?

Construction will likely occur a few blocks at a time before moving on to the next phase. The phasing of construction typically takes place in this order:

1.       Removals and underground utility replacement work. (sanitary sewer, watermain, storm sewer)

2.       Subcutting, grading and road bed construction

3.       Curbing, Paving and boulevard/sidewalk restoration

4.       Landscaping, lighting, striping and finish work.

How will Traffic be Detoured?

It is important to note that not only does traffic need to detour around the project, but it is important to be able to provide access to the businesses and neighborhoods around Main Street. Preliminarily, it is proposed to detour traffic along two routes: Eastbound traffic would detour south along Hwy 21, then east on County Rd 29 and north along 10th Avenue SE or County Road 3 back to Hwy 19. Westbound traffic would detour north and west along County Road 37, then south on Hwy 21. Back to Hwy 19. Access signs would be provided at various locations along the detour route to direct traffic to Main Street businesses.

What about the Dožínky® Festival in September 2020? 

The City and Chamber of Commerce are having discussions about Dozinky 2020.  There certainly will NOT be a parade down Main Street in 2020.  Whether the parade is relocated to another route or cancelled has not yet been determined.  It is however the goal and intent to have the westerly portion of the project completed and open to pedestrian use in time for the festival in September 2020.

How will I or my customers access the front of my  building?

The roadway will be closed off completely to through traffic and NO vehicles will be able to access properties from Main Street during much of the construction.  Access routes will direct vehicle traffic to nearby side streets and alleys. Much of the existing sidewalk will be left in place or with temporary surfaces for as long as possible. Pedestrian traffic will be able to access entrances during business hours. One critical time may be during sewer and/or water service utility work or sidewalk replacement, access may vary from one direction or another and could vary day to day. Sidewalk replacement at front entrances might be limited to after-hours or on weekends when business are closed, unless alternative entrances are available.

Will the parking change in the business area?

At this point, the parking in the downtown will be very similar to what it is today.

What will happen with sewer and water services along Main Street?

Sanitary sewer services and water services located in Main Street must be replaced during the project. For the homes and buildings set back from the right-of-way, the sewer and water services will be replaced between the newly constructed mains in the street and connected to the existing pipes at the property line, (property line is typically 33-feet from centerline of the roadway).

For the downtown commercial buildings abutting the right-of-way, the sanitary sewer service will typically be replaced up to the outside of the building face. Water services, however, must be installed from the main in the street, be extended all the way into the building and reconnected to the plumbing inside the building.  There will likely be a project subcontractor arranged to bring the waterline into the building and to connect into the inside plumbing or you may also arrange to have your own plumber complete the work. In either case all water and sewer service work will be a cost to the property owner.

NOTE: The residential properties and many of the commercial properties will only require a 1-inch water service to the building for domestic use. However there will be some commercial and rental properties in the project area which may likely need a larger 6-inch commercial water service based on use or to accommodate a future fire sprinkler system. Future building uses or future improvements to a commercial/rental building may trigger the need to install a fire sprinkler system to meet current building codes. If you have any questions about whether your building or future uses may require commercial water service, please contact the New Prague Planning/Building Department at 952.758.4401.

Please contact the City Engineer, Chris Cavett  (877.316.7636 or ccavett@sehinc.com) if you know you are in need of a 6-inch commercial water service or have other specific needs.

It is very important for property owners take time now to investigate their internal plumbing (sewer and water) service needs within their buildings and consider what changes or improvements might make sense within the building prior to or during the project. Additional questions about sewer and water services should be directed to Chris Cavett, City Engineer (877.316.7636 or ccavett@sehinc.com).

What is this project expected to cost?

The project is estimated to cost $12 Million. A detailed description of the project scope, estimated costs and proposed funding can be found in the project Feasibility Study, which is available for review on the City’s website.

How is this project being paid for? 

This project will be funded through multiple sources; Federal, State, County and City funding.  On the City side of the funding, much of the utility work will be funded through the city’s utility (sewer, water, storm and electric) funds.  A portion of the City's other financial obligation on the project will be funded through the City's general tax levy funding (city-wide property taxes) and through some level of assessment to the benefiting properties. The proposed project scope, estimated cost, proposed financing and anticipated assessments can be reviewed in the project Feasibility Study. (Located on the City’s website).

Will there be assessments with this project?  

Yes, assessments are proposed to be levied to the benefitting properties along the project beginning in the fall of 2020 to cover a portion of the project cost. Assessments would be levied in the fall of 2020, payable beginning in 2021 and typically paid over a 15-year payment period. Additional questions about assessments or the assessment process can be directed to Chris Cavett, City Engineer (877.316.7636).

Why are properties on the project being assessed,  isn’t Main Street a State Highway?   

Yes, Main Street / Trunk Highway 19 is a state highway and MnDOT is providing the largest share of funding on the project.

However, the State’s cost participation policy and the City’s other unique needs means the City will have additional financial obligations to the project as well. ost and funding for the project are outlined in the project feasibility study.  Funding from the city’s portion of the project will be covered by various sources: federal transportation grant, water utility fund, sanitary sewer utility fund, stormwater utility fund, city-wide levy, as well as assessments.   Assessments will be levied for sewer and water service improvements as well as a small share of the parking and streetscaping improvements.

When and how will I know what my final assessment amount will be?

All properties will be sent a notice of assessment and of the assessment hearing prior to the assessment hearing in the fall of 2020. Preliminary assessment amounts for each property are presented in the feasibility study.  Street assessment amounts are fixed based on the City’s assessment policy and are not expected to change. Sewer and water service assessments will be based on actual bid costs and are estimated at this time and expected to vary some in the end. The assessment for 6-inch commercial water service will be more than a standard 1-inch domestic water service.

When will assessments need to be paid? 

The assessment hearing is expected to be held in the fall of 2020. Once approved by the City Council, assessments are payable interest-free for 30-days, or they can simply be rolled over to be payable with property taxes beginning in 2021 and typically paid over a 15-year payment period.  Additional questions about assessments or the assessment process should be directed to Chris Cavett, City Engineer (877.316.7636)

What happens to an assessment if I choose to sell my property?   

Assessments are typically settled at the time of the sale. Settlement of the assessment obligation is usually part of the negotiation process between the buyer and the seller.

Why are bump-outs installed?

Bump-outs, or curb extensions were installed as part of the 1990 improvement project. They are also proposed as part of this reconstruction project as a design feature that provides the following benefits:

·          Improve safety by reducing the crossing distance for pedestrians.

·          Provide a safe refuge for pedestrians to see and be seen by vehicles.

·          Narrowing the roadway helps reduce traffic speeds.

·          The area can also be used for streetscaping (planters, lighting, seating) and ADA requirements (ramps, push buttons, etc.).

Roundabouts are proposed? ….. how will they fit?

Two (2) “MINI” Roundabouts are proposed for the 1st Avenue East and Columbus Avenue intersections. An intersection Control Evaluation (ICE) study was prepared to determine the best application to control traffic at these intersections now and into the future. Mini-Roundabouts are able to fit within the existing corridor. The center island and splitter islands are only a few inches high.  Trucks, buses and large vehicles can traverse over the raised island and medians. The roundabouts will help to slow traffic through the downtown and will make it easier for vehicles to enter onto Main Street at those intersections.

Will this project fix drainage issues by the railroad  tracks?  

Drainage west of Columbus Avenue flows west towards the railroad tracks where there is a low point in the street and from there it drains to Philipp Creek. The designers will be exploring options and modeling storm conditions to improve operations.  This project will provide larger capacity storm sewer to help increase the amount of water that can be drained from the roadway. The project will improve the drainage capacity for most storm events.  However, the area is still somewhat limited in capacity during multiple rain events or continual wet periods when the level of Philipp Creek may be high.  When the water levels in the creek are high (a day after a large rainfall, for example), water drained from Main Street may be slow to drain into the creek, causing some of the backup and flooding that is experienced near the tracks. Additional questions about drainage issues should be directed to Chris Cavett, City Engineer (877.316.7636 or ccavett@sehinc.com).