Melanie Trail and what to do?

Scandia City Council, citizens in discussions


Everyone agrees that the original paving job, done in 1989, was not high quality.  But what should be done now?

A robin bathed in a puddle on Melanie Trail in Scandia on June 19, the morning after residents met with city officials to discuss road repair options. (Photo by Mary Bailey)

At the Monday, June 18 capital improvement plan meeting, about 30 Melanie Trail residents met with the Scandia City Council and staff to discuss options and costs.

The street, which follows the east side of Bone Lake, is in such poor condition that it’s not considered worth crack sealing or seal coating.

To rebuild the road would cost about $784,000.  The city would have to borrow to raise this amount.

State law prohibits borrowing for road construction unless the owners are assessed at least 20 percent of the cost. Scandia assesses owners to help pay for new paving jobs, but has never done a full reconstruction and has no assessment policy for that.

Other Options

A total rebuild would probably last 25 to 30 years.

The city presented two less-expensive options that would keep the road paved but have a shorter life.

For about $47,000, city maintenance staff could hand-patch the middle portion of the road, reshape the ditch, establish a crown where the road is too flat to shed water, and apply a thin overlay. This option might keep the road usable for five years.

For about $420,000, the current road surface could be ground up and recycled as the new base, then covered with a new surface. This might last 20 years and would look like a new street.

Both of these lesser options would be paid entirely with taxes (no assessment of owners).

The cheapest option, also with no assessment, would be about $37,800 to convert the road back to gravel.

The city will mail each homeowner a survey to get individual feedback. The residents who attended the meeting also plan to discuss their options at the next meeting of the Bone Lake Association.

One resident, Terry Brindley, suggested that the city post signs with the maximum axle weight allowed, and recommended that it not be over three tons.

Resident Patty Ray said taking the road back to gravel would destroy property values.

Some roads in Scandia have never been paved, and plans to pave them have been postponed in recent years.

Whatever the city decides for Melanie Trail will probably also apply to other roads that are in poor condition.