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Bemidji Avenue scheduled for reconstruction in 2008

Bemidji Avenue will be reconstructed between Third Street and 23rd Street next year. Two signal lights will be replaced, sewer and water utilities will be replaced and updated, and traffic will be detoured.

City Engineer Craig Gray presented the plans for the project to the Bemidji City Council on Monday. The council unanimously approved the cooperative agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The Bemidji Avenue traffic signals at Fifth Street and 15th Street will be replaced, and the city will replace and update all of its underground sewer and water utilities at that time.

Gray said some of the water main and sanitary sewer dates back to 1906.

Construction is anticipated to being as soon as the load limits are lifted from the streets, probably in mid-May, Gray said. Work will continue until November.

Construction will be done in phases, he said, and the first phase, from Second Street to Fifth Street, is expected to be done by the end of June in time for Fourth of July events at the waterfront.

"As long as you don't mess with our Dragon Boat Festival," said Mayor Richard Lehmann.

Property owners will be assessed for the improvements made to the water main and sewer along their properties, Gray said.

He also said the water main and sewer would be upsized to accommodate future growth, and those improvements would be paid by the city, not the property owners.

MnDOT will pay for a portion of the replacement of traffic signals.

The city's share of the project is expected to be about $1.2 million.