By Roz Kohls
The federally-funded construction on Meeker County State Aid Highway 15, or what is commonly called the “Bear Lake Road,” began Aug. 8, southeast of Dassel.
Not only will the $1.8 million grading project make the road wider, it also will straighten and realign the road to have 55 mph curves, according to the contractor’s crew superintendent, John Duncan, of Central Specialties of Alexandria.
The road runs seven miles from CSAH 6 in the north, east of Dassel, to the Meeker McLeod County border in the south. The construction started at the south end, and one mile is complete, Duncan said last Monday.
The grading is expected to be done this year. The second phase of the project will be paving, to be done in 2009.
Probably the most challenging part of this year’s work is the 2,000 feet of swamp through which the road will run south of 187th Street. The cattails will be flattened and woodchips will be spread over the top. Next, Geofabric will be installed to hold the road in place, Duncan said.
Truckers will haul in granular material to put on top of the fabric. Then two layers of dirt, each 12 inches thick, will be applied to the top.
In the meantime, massive culverts will be installed in the road bed so swamp water can flow from one side to the other without flooding the road.
The 2,000 feet of road built on the swamp will then set for 21 days, Duncan said. Often, engineers will design roads so the swampy areas are dug out and removed. On CSAH 15, however, engineers felt it was best to build the road with Geofabric, he added.
The recent dry weather has helped the contractor make progress, but also made it dusty for property owners along the road. Tanker trucks sprayed water on the routes through the construction site to keep down the dust as much as possible, Duncan said.
Central Specialties’ contract requires it to finish the grading in 91 working days.