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Bemidji City Council: Hearing set on highway proposal

The Bemidji City Council will hold a public hearing Monday on the proposed plans to change the layout of state Highway 197 on the south end of town.

The hearing will be held during the regular council meeting that begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

A letter from Minnesota Department of Transportation district design engineer William Pirkl makes several proposals.

MnDOT has proposed that Highway 197, running south from Lueken's Village Foods South to U.S. Highway 71, will be reconstructed to have two driving lanes in each direction and a center left-turn lane.

North of U.S. Highway 2, the road would become a divided four-lane highway.

A new bridge has been proposed for crossing over Highway 2. Northbound traffic on Highway 71 would utilize the new bridge while southbound traffic would continue to use the existing bridge, which would be rehabilitated.

The divided four-lane highway would continue south of the Beltrami/Hubbard county line and become a two-lane road. A center turn lane is planned about one mile north of Hubbard County Road 9 (the Nary road) and would continue throughout the duration of that intersection.

The City Council must hold a public hearing, and then approve a resolution supporting or opposing the design plan. Or, the city could choose to waive municipal consent.

Construction is planned for 2010.

If the plans presented now are approved, there would be no initial cost to the city. But, if the city chose to improve or expand utility systems in the area, that work would the city's responsibility.

Bids considered

The council also will consider awarding the bids for work on the Lake Bemidji West Shore Trail and Irvine Avenue North reconstruction.

The low bid, of three received, on the trail appears to be from Gladen Construction Inc. for $555,555. The bid includes an "alternate" for $102,146.40 for mill and overlay work on Birchmont Drive Northeast from 23rd to 29th streets. The Parks and Trails Commission has voted against the alternate, if those funds must come from sales-tax dollars.

The low bid, of four received, on the Irvine Avenue work appears to be from Northdale Construction for $1,963,349.99.

The bids for both projects came in under the projects' estimates.