BEMIDJI-A pair of Bemidji infrastructure projects moved forward Monday with approval by the City Council.

The council approved dollar figures for a project to pave a section of the city's alleys and another to relocate several city light poles.

The alley project is an annual effort by the city to pave all of the existing gravel alleys with specific attention to those requiring various maintenance and drainage issues. This year's alley project are those located south of First Street East, west of Pershing Avenue Southeast and east of Paul Bunyan Drive South in the Nymore area.

The recommendation before the council Monday was to approve a quote from Northern Paving Inc. of Hubbard County for $107,200. According to City Engineer Craig Gray, $30,000 was budgeted for the project in the capital improvements plan and the remaining $77,200 will come from the stormwater utility fund.

The other project is to relocate several light poles along Paul Bunyan Drive between the Mississippi River bridge and First Street East. Gray said the project is in response to an average of two light poles per year needing to be repaired or replaced because of snow plow operations over the past six years, along with other vehicular incidents.

Depending on the severity, Gray said the damage costs the city between $6,500 and $8,500 per year. More frequently, the damage has occurred along the south curb along the eastbound lanes of Paul Bunyan Drive.

In coordination with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the project is to relocate eight of the light poles to locations across the street and back from the curb, while removing another entirely. The quote approved Monday was from Bessler/Wiebolt Electric of Bemidji for $29,765. When factoring in engineering, inspection and design, the total comes to $36,000.

Gray said the $29,765 will be covered by the MnDOT Local Partnership Program, while the remainder will come from the city's construction reserve fund.