By Roz Kohls
Meeker County Board of Commissioners decided Tuesday to take bids for resurfacing Meeker County State Aid Highway 18, south of Dassel.
CSAH 18 is in such poor condition, contractors hauling gravel for the CSAH 15 grading project will be restricted to 5-ton loads. CSAH 18 has eight locations in 7.6 miles that are breaking apart. The last time CSAH 18 was resurfaced was in 1984.
“That road has lived its life,” Ron Mortensen, county highway engineer, told the board.
However, to get the road resurfaced this summer, a lot of factors need to fall into place perfectly, he said.
“If everything works right,” Commissioner Ron Kutzke agreed.
First, the cost of the project needs to be reasonable. The board will take two kinds of bids, one for hot mix bituminous, and another for cold recycle mix, in which the material milled from the side of the road is mixed into the bituminous. Whichever is less expensive will be the surface the board will choose, according to Commissioner Dave Gabrielson.
If all the bids are too costly, they can all be rejected, Kutzke pointed out.
Also, if consumers in the state buy the same amount of gasoline in the next four years as they do this year, the county can bond for $2.5 million for the project, and have enough money from the gasoline tax to repay the bond in 15 years without a levy, Mortenson said.
Mortenson didn’t want to project further into the future than four years, because he was afraid the county wouldn’t have enough money to pay off the bond, he said.
Also, if the county has two bad winters within those four years, the county won’t be able to react, and pay for repairing winter damage on its roads, Mortensen added.
Commissioner Amy Wilde expressed concern about using the cold recycle surface, because it takes 72 hours to set. Traffic in the Collinwood Township area will have no way out of the area other than 190th Street if both CSAH 18 and 15 are under construction at the same time. There are several lakes in the area blocking roads from going through, she said.
Highway Department Supervisor Mike Alterman agreed. He pointed out that trucks will need to haul in gravel to replace the milled material used in the cold recycle surface on the shoulders. He preferred a hot mix bituminous surface because traffic can drive on it within a half hour of application, he added.
Wilde said 190th Street is not only gravel, but runs over a large hill that will be difficult for semi trucks to navigate in bad weather.
The board also discussed using concrete on CSAH 18. Mortensen said Mcleod County is currently using concrete on McLeod County Road 7 between Hutchinson and Stewart.
Concrete takes awhile to cure, however. Alterman said he wanted both CSAH 18 and 15 done by Oct. 15, or the projects will be hampered by snow.
In other highway business, when the low bid from Central Specialties of Alexandria for the federally funded CSAH 15 project was reviewed by MnDOT last week, the state found a problem with the paperwork. A civil rights requirement that a disadvantaged employee will work on the project was not met, Mortensen said.
The contractor had until Thursday to complete the paperwork. Otherwise, the second lowest bid, from Mathiowetz of Sleepy Eye, will be reviewed, he said.
The county board also awarded the seasonal gravel contract to B. McNamara Incorporated of Litchfield for $25,830, the only bid received. The unit price was $8.61. Two years ago the unit price was $9.30, Mortensen said.
Finally, Nathan Kruger was transferred full time to the highway department from his global positioning system work in the recorder’s office for the balance of the year.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• approved a conditional use permit to Schiefelbein Farms for a 960 animal-unit feedlot for north of Kingston.
• contributed $75,000 as the county’s share of a matching $600,000 transit grant to an expansion of the Ecumen’s county transit program, and contributed another $10,000 in start-up funds for the project. Ecumen bought Augustana Lutheran Homes of Litchfield, which had started the county transit program.
• appointed Ron Johnson of Litchfield to the Housing Redevelopment Authority.
• approved the Economic Development Authority bylaws. The authority changed its board of directors to nine members from seven members, according to the EDA director, Suzanne Hedtke.
• scheduled a special county board meeting for 10 a.m., Tuesday, June 24 to award the courthouse boiler bids and the contract for the CSAH 15 grading project, if it is ready.