Marshall approves bids for school crossing improvements

MARSHALL — The price tag for planned school crossing improvements in Marshall will be more than $100,000 higher than estimated, but city staff say state aid funds could help cover the additional costs.

On Tuesday, the Marshall City Council voted to award a roughly $480,000 bid from Duininck, Inc., to build features like pedestrian islands and electronic speed signs outside local schools. Part of the cost of the project will be covered by an 80/20 matching grant from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and Marshall schools will also be contributing to part of the local portion of costs.

“We received two bids. Both were very near each other in price,” said Marshall city engineer Jason Anderson. However, while the two bids were close, they were also over the city’s cost estimates for the project. Anderson said the engineer’s estimate was around $350,000.

The city plans to build safety improvements in school zones at Park Side Elementary, Southview Elementary, Marshall Middle School and True Light Christian School. Those improvements include concrete medians that will give pedestrians somewhere safe to stand while crossing the street, flashing crosswalk beacons, and dynamic speed signs that show drivers how fast they’re going.

At MMS, the pedestrian island would be built in part of the center turn lane at the crosswalk near the corner of Saratoga Street and James Avenue. At Southview Elementary, the island would be in the center lane near the corner of Southview Drive and Silvervine Drive. At Park Side, the island would be in the center lane near the corner of East Lyon Street and Adobe Road.

True Light Christian School was the only school in the project that would not get a pedestrian island. Anderson said that’s because MnDOT planned to build one as part of its reconstruction of College Drive in 2025.

Anderson said the engineer’s estimate ended up being most out of line for the costs of mobilizing the crossing project, and for the flashing signs. He said he thought supply chain issues were likely part of the differences in the costs.

The local cost of the project is currently anticipated to be about $120,000, and about $43,000 has been contributed by the participating schools, city staff said. Anderson said the city was proposing to pay for local costs through an advance request in state transportation aid, instead of general fund dollars.

Council members were still in favor of the school crossing project, in spite of the cost increase.

“It’s not a reflection on this much-needed project,” said council member Russ Labat. “I think the project will pay for itself many times over in safety improvements.”


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