After more than 10 years of discussions, studies and configurations, the Interstate 94 project's final plans were presented officially to the public in a public hearing at Monday night's meeting.
City Administrator Larry Kruse and City Engineer Adam Nafstad presented the project and the reasons behind it.
"Most of all," Nafstad explained, "this is about improved access." The new ramp will accomodate traffic, improve congestion and have safety and economic advantages.
Currently, there is only partial access to I-94 from County Road 19 and full access at County Road 37.
The current estimated project cost is $10.8 million, as long as the state agrees to move forward with the low bid of $6.6 million that the city of Albertville has received.
About 74 percent of the funding for the project is secured through grants, MNDOT and a Wright County partnership agreement. The rest of the funding–the local share of about 25 percent, would come from special assessments.
City Attorney Mike Couri gave some clarifications before opening up the floor for public comment.
"Tonight's purpose is to get public comment and help you determine if you want this project done, after we hear from the public, the council will vote on moving forward, and the bid would be awarded in the next several weeks," he said.
While the meeting had a full house of public attendees, just three from the public spoke up. Former Mayor Ron Klecker reminisced on the past 10 years and asked the council for a "unanimous vote to continue moving forward on this project. There's a lot of time tied up here and we're reaching a milestone. I want a unified vote."
Former Council member Tom Fay also spoke up in agreement. "This is the third mayor to see this project. You're never going to see this funding again," he said.
Finally, one local business owner, Don Savitski spoke up also in favor. That the owner of DJ's stepped forward in support was a big "win" for the city. and other properties owned by Savitski will bear the biggest burden in assessments levied on the proejct.
The council closed the public hearing and went to a vote. The four members present unanimously agreed and the motion was carried. John Vetsch was absent.
As long as the MnDOT concurs with the low bid, the project contract bid will be awarded at the April 2 meeting, and work can start soon after.