HJ-ED-DHJ

August 27, 2007

Meeker County bridge, road repair plan ready for state

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Meeker County Board of Commissioners approved both its prioritized bridge replacement list and a five-year road construction plan Tuesday.

In light of the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis Aug. 1, the state has asked the county for a prioritized list of deficient bridges to be added to the construction plan due Sept. 1, according to County Engineer Ron Mortensen.

An arch culvert-type of bridge in Cedar Mills Township, just south of St. John’s Lutheran Church, is the first county bridge on the list. Its proposed construction year is 2008.

The second bridge on the list also is an arch culvert bridge on Meeker County Road 14. The bridge, No. 90979, is south of Darwin, and goes over a narrow strip of water flowing between Lake Washington and Lake Stella. Its rehabilitation is scheduled for 2011, as are bridges at County Roads 16 and 34.

In 2012, the Lake Arvila Stone Arch Bridge in Dassel Township will be rehabilitated. The bridge also is a culvert, and is near the intersection of Highway 15 and 273rd Street, north of Dassel, according to Mortensen.

Two bridges in Cosmos Township and another bridge in Litchfield Township also are slated for 2012.

Federal funds are available to pay for bridge replacement and road construction in 2008. After that, the money runs out, Mortensen pointed out.

In addition to the Cedar Mills Township arch culvert bridge, projects scheduled for 2008 are grading of County Road 15, grading and bituminous surfacing of the bike path in Dassel to Spring Lake Park, and bituminous overlays for county roads 18, 20, 8, 19, and 24.

The part of County Road 18 that hooks around Lake Jennie, south of Dassel, is the worst road in the county, and first on the list for bituminous overlay. It was designed for seven-ton traffic at most, but 10-ton or heavier trucks have been using it continuously. The road is crumbling apart, he said.

All the county roads are supposed to get fresh overlay every 20 years to preserve them, but the county hasn’t had any money for road preservation at all, Mortensen said.

The most deficient county bridge is the Salzburg Bridge on the western edge of Kingston Township. It crosses the North Fork of the Crow River, and can hold only three-ton traffic. However, the bridge has historic designation, so it will not be replaced, Mortensen said.

Odds and ends

In other business, the board:

• promoted part-time Deputy Bill Hudson to full time to replace Brian Massingham patrolling Dassel. Hudson will receive $18.33 per hour. Massingham joined the Litchfield Police Department.

• agreed to get the sheriff’s officer another tracking dog, probably a German shepherd, for $5,000 from Ramsey County. Sheriff’s Deputy John Toma is a canine officer, but his dog is a drug-sniffing dog only, according to Sheriff Mike Hirman.

• awarded the bid to remodel the family services center in Litchfield to Kue Contractors of Watkins for $61,978.

• approved a financing plan for the expansion of Meeker County Memorial Hospital for a 30-year bond at $26.9 million.

• hired Steve Johnson Enterprises of Litchfield to inspect the MinnCan pipeline construction as it crosses Meeker County. Minnesota Pipeline has paid the $10,000 cost of the inspector.


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