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Road construction cost near new Saints stadium doubles

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The city of St. Paul has to double its budget to improve roads near the new Lowertown St. Paul Saints stadium before it opens in the spring.

The city found contaminated soil beneath the streets that must be removed, and also is planning in case it needs to pay more to purchase land from a private property owner. The estimated cost of the project is now $7 million - more than double the amount the council approved for the street improvement budget in 2013, MPR reports.

The street improvement projects around CHS Field include sewer and street reconstruction. Prince and Lafayette streets will be extended to help fans access the stadium from the east.

Upgrades are also planned for portions of Willius and Lafayette streets.

While the project is important with the stadium opening this spring, St. Paul public works officials say the plan for these street improvements precedes the stadium plan, MPR reports.

The anticipated legal costs are related to a parcel of property the city is trying to obtain through eminent domain from a private landowner. The city is "preparing for the worst case scenario for the property acquisition based on recent case history with property settlements," the Pioneer Press reports.

The Prince Street project was approved in 2013 at a $3.38 million budget, but some critics felt the project cost should have been rolled into the ballpark construction estimates, according to the Pioneer Press.

The costs of cleaning up contamination also increased the CHS Field cost. The ballpark project saw a $9 million increase in its budget, when more contamination was found on the site than expected. The budget jumped from $54 million to $63 million.

CHS Field is expected to open this spring.

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