By Roz Kohls
Meeker County Board of Commissioners awarded the bid for the Meeker County State Aid Highway 18 paving project Tuesday to Knife River of Sauk Rapids for $2,226,330. The board also decided to bond $3 million for the project.
The bond will be repaid over the next five years with county state aid highway funds instead of levying county taxpayers, according to County Administrator Paul Virnig. If the county waits to accumulate funds until 2011, there will be at least two full winters of freezing and thawing in between. The road, which is south of Dassel, will be a mess, he added.
About seven miles of CSAH 18 already is in such poor condition, it can’t be patched, according to County Engineer Ron Mortensen.
Commissioner Amy Wilde said she was approached by a farmer last Monday, who asked her to get the road paved by harvest.
“If we’re going to do it, let’s do it,” said Commissioner Dave Gabrielson.
Knife River intends to start today, Monday, Aug. 18, Mortensen said.
The contractor has 30 working days to finish it. Fortunately, bituminous doesn’t need to cure like concrete does, so drivers will be able to use it right away, Mortensen said Aug. 5.
In other highway business, the board authorized Mortensen to begin negotiations for rights-of-way on a federally-funded road project on County Road 27 near Kingston next year. The county wants to widen the road to 50 feet from 33 feet.
Mortensen said he was worried about the cost of that project, because there is a possibility the county will get only half of the federal funding proposed for it. The cost of bituminous continues to rise. In 2003, bituminous base was $19.19 per unit. In 2008, the price is $47.
Gabrielson pointed out the price of oil has been coming down since its peak in July.
However, most crude oil is refined into gasoline, not into construction material, so the price of bituminous has not been affected yet, Mortensen said.
Also, the board opened quotes for seasonal propane for several highway department buildings, including Kingston’s.
Jack’s Oil of Eden Valley quoted a total of $21,939. Ferrelgas of St. Cloud quoted a total of $23,206. The quotes will be reviewed by Mortensen before the propane is purchased.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• granted conditional use permits to Audrey Kortz of Darwin, and Jon and Crisi Shoutz of Litchfield to move dwellings onto their properties.
• approved an interim use permit to Mark and Doug Ailie of Dassel for mineral extraction and for recycling of concrete and bituminous. County Planning and Zoning Administrator John Boe said the Ailies’ recycling center will benefit the east side of the county, which hasn’t had a recycling center nearby in the past.
• affirmed a cease and abate order and placed a stay of execution for 60 days on property at 63455 230th St., Litchfield, belonging to Arthur and Mary Osmundson. The property is allegedly full of junk.