Watertown rescinds bridge JPA approval

The Watertown City Council, two weeks after officially making a bridge and intersection alignment selection and approving a Joint Powers Agreement with Carver County, voted to rescind that JPA with the county. 

The decision was made during the council’s June 11 meeting because City Administrator Luke Fischer was informed by Carver County Engineer Lyndon Robjent that the document had not yet been reviewed by the Carver County Attorney or Carver County’s Risk Management division, and that some of the legal language was still subject to change. Fischer recommended that the council rescind their original approval of the JPA so that the city would be signing final documents, not drafts.

The rescinding of the JPA approval has no impact on the city council’s selection of a bridge without a median and a roundabout at the intersection of Lewis Avenue and Territorial Street. The JPA only affects the financing of the project, and how the costs will be shared between the city and the county. It is unlikely any of the significant portions of the JPA would change, either.

“This doesn’t change the good faith we’ve negotiated in, and we don’t anticipate that this stops anything from happening,” Fischer told the council. “We want to make sure we’re signing final documents and not draft documents.”

The JPA, as currently written, defines Carver County as the lead agency in the project, meaning the county is responsible for design, contract and construction management. The city and county will split right of way costs within the intersection, with the county paying 75 percent and the city paying 25 percent. The city will pay 100 percent of right-of-way costs outside the defined intersection.

According to the JPA, the county’s share of the cost will only cover the first 50 feet of bridge width. The city’s decision to include a center turn lane instead of a median will add width to the bridge to exceed 50 feet, so the city will bear 100 percent of the costs associated with those additional feet.

 

Contact Matt Bunke at matt.bunke@ecm-inc.com

 
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