Tag Archives: Sean Simonson

Another problem solved by the City of Northfield’s Engineering Dept: a new curb cut on Jefferson Parkway

Back in late May, I blogged about Roosevelt Drive’s new sidewalk and at the end of the post, wrote:

Jefferson Park trail at Jefferson ParkwayOne thing that still puzzles me, however, is the end of the trail that goes through Jefferson Park. It connects to the sidewalk but across the street, there’s a sign on the north side of Jefferson Parkway that says “TRAIL ROUTE” with a 90 degree arrow. If the intent is to signal people that now on-street walking/biking is required, it seems like there should be a curb cut there where a section of the sidewalk was just replaced.  Or am I confused?

George Kinney reported that he’d brought it to the attention of City Engineer Joe Stapf and about a week ago, I got CC’d on an email from George to Joe:

Thank you, Joe and TJ!  From a distance, I saw a crew working yesterday at the Parkway entrance to Jeff Park, and hoped it was the trail/street completion. I rode past at 5:30 this morning, and it looks great! Now I won’t have to try to jump the curb. 🙂

Joe replied:

Actually, it was Sean Simonson and Steve Bennett from the Engineering Department,  working thru the Street Improvements project contractor, Heselton Construction, and their concrete subcontractor, who made this happen.  I will pass on your thanks.

curb cut, Jefferson Park trail at Jefferson Parkway curb cut, Jefferson Park trail at Jefferson Parkway
I rode my bike on the trail yesterday and indeed, it’s just like George said. Cool.  I love it when City staff pays attention to citizens on small stuff like this and quickly gets things done.

Erosion control proving to be a challenge along the East Cannon River Trail

Last Thursday, July 21, a contractor started laying erosion control blankets along the East Cannon River Trail and other areas of construction from the Babcock Park Lift Station & Interceptor Sewer Project.

Erosion control blanket installation, East Cannon River Trail silt fence, East Cannon River Trail silt fence, East Cannon River Trail silt fence, East Cannon River Trail
When biking the trail, however, I noticed that the silt fence, washed out in more than a dozen places a week earlier by the heavy rains (5 inches?) on July 15, had not been fixed. With thunderstorms in the forecast for the weekend, I wrote to City street/engineering staffers Sean Simonson and TJ Heinricy:

Sean/TJ, I noticed yesterday that the silt fence along the East Cannon River Trail has been washed out in many places since last Friday’s heavy rains.  I see the contractor is putting down the erosion blankets rather than repairing the silt fence.   And at the south end of the trail, there’s no silt fence at all along the unpaved section of the trail, with several places where they’ve just pushed dirt up to the river’s edge. With the probability of more thunderstorms this weekend, what’s the plan to remedy this?

I got this email back from Brian Hilgardner, Senior Project Manager, for Bolton & Menk, an engineering consulting firm that works with the City:

Griff, Sean is out of town on vacation, however, I was made aware of your concerns for potential erosion control along the Cannon River Trail.  The Contractor replaced much of the silt fence along the entire corridor approximately three weeks ago.  Obviously, the heavy rains took its toll on some of the silt fence.  The Contractor wasn’t able to get any equipment onto the site to make repairs earlier this week because they would have made conditions worse because the soil was still wet and soft. 

They are currently placing seed/mulch and erosion control blanket to stabilize the entire site.  They will also be repairing silt fence today.  The erosion control blanket is actually a much better and preferred erosion control Best Management Practice (BMP’s) according to the Minnesota Stormwater Manual, and as indicated in my training for Erosion and Stormwater Management Certification.  In fact, silt fence is one of the least preferred, yet still most commonly used because of its lower cost. 

By the end of the day, everything should be stabilized again.  Please call me if you have any further questions or comments. 

I replied to Brian:

Thanks much for your detailed, quick response, Brian. Good to know that it’ll be stabilized by day’s end.

Will that include along the south, unpaved end of the trail by the old Village School?  There’s no silt fence there at all and it doesn’t appear that that section will be ready for erosion blankets for a quite a while… probably until after it’s paved, right?


I did instruct the contractor to get silt fence installed on that end today.  You are correct, that end will not be fully stabilized until it is paved, hopefully sometime next week if the weather remains decent.  I appreciate your concern for these issues and please feel free to contact me in the future if you have any comments or questions.

The contractor did fix the silt fence by the end of the day on Friday. I was thrilled. The weather did not "remain decent" however; we got nearly 2 inches of rain in about 30 minutes on Saturday morning. I rode the trail to see the results.

silt fence, East Cannon River Trail silt fence, East Cannon River Trail silt fence, East Cannon River Trail silt fence, East Cannon River Trail
As you can see from the above photos, the silt fence along the unfinished south end of the trail did its job.

Erosion control blankets, East Cannon River Trail Erosion control blankets, East Cannon River Trail Erosion control blankets, East Cannon River Trail
And with a few minor exceptions, the erosion control blankets did their job.

Erosion, East Cannon River Trail Erosion, East Cannon River Trail Erosion, East Cannon River Trail
But on all the inclined areas where the contractor had not placed blankets, the straw/seeding just washed away.  In most places, the repaired silt fence caught the runoff.

I wrote to Brian yesterday:

Brian, Nice work!  The erosion blankets did their job during Saturday’s deluge, with a few minor exceptions.  And the silt fence at the far south end did its job. But all the slightly inclined places where erosion blankets were NOT used, the straw was just washed away/ruined. What’s the plant to fix that?


We are actually driving the site right now. We will likely have them overseed the entire project and mulch again. I will keep you posted.

Kudos to Brian and City Hall for the handling of a challenging situation.

Northfield prepares to take more shit from Dundas

Babcock Park Lift Station & Interceptor Sewer Project Babcock Park Lift Station & Interceptor Sewer Project 
I took these photos yesterday of a Minger Construction crew working on the $1.2 million Babcock Park Lift Station & Interceptor Sewer Project near the park’s softball field.

Sean Simonson, Engineering Tech Coordinator for the City of Northfield, had this to say in last week’s Friday Memo:

Minger had crew on-site working on rock excavation again. They concentrated on the area near the existing lift station by the Ice Arena early in the week, and late in the week moved back down to the Babcock Softball Park area to continue with rock excavation. Next week crew will continue with rock excavation near the new lift station location, and they also anticipate having a crew on-site late in the week to set the new lift station structure.

Staff met with a representative from the Northfield Public Schools Community Services Division to discuss access and safety issues with the Babcock Softball Field and the upcoming softball leagues. Leagues are scheduled to start on May 2nd, and the project is expected to be completed in late June. Representatives from the School will be contacting individuals from each league to relay the issues with safety and access during construction.

Riverside Trail Extension complete; dedication set for July 10

Riverside Trail Extension Riverside Trail Extension Riverside Trail Extension Riverside Trail Extension Riverside Trail Extension
Paving and landscaping on the Riverside Trail Extension between 5th St. and Riverside Park was completed this week.

Sean Simonson, City of Northfield’s Engineering Tech Coordinator, wrote in last week’s Friday Memo that the “trail dedication ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, July 10th.”

The Riverside Trail Extension connects downtown with the Peggy Prowe Pedestrian Bridge over the Cannon River at Hwy 3 and then on to the Mill Towns Trail.

The $245,000 to construct the trail came from the City’s Master Development District Fund.

Update 7/12: I’ve added these two photos taken on 6/27 that show the signs urging people to walk their bikes around the corner.

Riverside Trail Extension Riverside Trail Extension

Prettying up downtown

hanging flowers flowers on pedestrian footbridge Water St brick paver crosswalk

The City of Northfield put up the hanging flowers around downtown this week, including the pedestrian footbridge.  Crews are installing the brick paver crosswalk in front of the Post Office and according to Sean Simonson, Engineering Tech. Coordinator, in the May 22 Friday Memo:

Heselton plans on shutting down the Water Street parking lot Thursday the 28th thru Thursday June 4th. They are scheduled to install the Porous Pavement on Friday the 29th, and the Wear Course paving on Wednesday June 3rd. Final work on the parking lot will include the striping of the parking stalls, which is scheduled for Thursday June 4th. Crosswalk work and other miscellaneous work will be completed throughout the duration of the closure.