Water main break pushes back 7th Avenue construction

Solomon Gustavo/Review Construction workers laid cement where a water main broke during a recent Xcel Energy Gas project that was supposed to finish Nov. 5 at the intersection of Margaret Street and East Seventh Avenue in North St. Paul. Because of the break, the project end date was pushed back to Nov. 16.

Project now slated to finish Nov 16 


Xcel Energy Gas began extensive work Oct. 15 to replace gas mains at the intersection of Seppala Boulevard and Margaret Street, as well as the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Margaret, in North St. Paul.

The construction closed Margart Street at Seventh, gumming up the city’s main drag.

The project was supposed finish on Nov. 5, but workers hit a water main and broke it, causing soil displacement, according to North. St. Paul officials. 

“It looked like a waterpark,” said Kathryn Harris, owner of the Paperbacks Plus Book Store on Seventh. “Water was just bubbling up from cracks I didn’t know existed.”

Ben Shimko of Xcel Energy Gas said the main was repaired the same day and, to his knowledge, no businesses lost water. Construction crews then worked to fix the roadway to make sure the foundation of the intersection is ready before winter fully arrives. 

Repair work is now scheduled to last until Nov. 16. 

Some business owners around the Seventh Avenue and Margaret Street intersection said they were notified of the original project, but not told about the extension caused by the water main break. 

“I saw the sign says Nov. 6 but its still there,” said Shangri-La III Carry Out owner Andy Liu. He said he has a good relationship with the city but hasn’t heard anything about the project extension form any officials. 

Some owners also said that the project has impacted business. 

“People can’t get in,” said Harris. 

Jeff Warning and Guy Franck, who run North St. Paul Antiques, said they rely on foot traffic, which has slowed since construction crews showed up. 

Each business owner said they believe the city communicates well and does plenty for businesses. Warning said that the city prioritizing the summer car show on Seventh has been a great boon for the antique shop.

Shimko from Xcel notified each affected business with a letter about the original project, though he said he didn’t go to each place after the water main break to discuss the construction extension. 

Shimko said he spoke with some business owners — he said they voiced concerns over the roadblock. When he met with each business before any construction began, Shimko said he gave each owner his cell phone number and told each to contact him with any concerns.

“It’s gotta be done,” Del Howard, owner of La’ Garage and Gallery, said of the work. 

He said he learned of the water main break and project extension by happening upon the information while cruising the North St. Paul website.  


–Solomon Gustavo can be reached at sgustavo@lillienews.com or 651-748-7815.

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