Franklin Twp. looks at condition of Halfway Bridge

July 21, 2008

By Lynda Jensen
Staff Writer

Repairs needed to Halfway Bridge south of Delano due to the influx of construction traffic were a major topic of discussion at the Franklin Township meeting recently.

At the last township meeting the bridge was discussed for its use as a hauling route during the construction of County Road 17.

The bridge is located on 110th Street, otherwise called Halfway Road, which connects County Roads 16 and 17.

Randy Huiras of Mathiowetz Construction Company told the board that seven to eight planks on the bridge were loose and that there were many cracks in the asphalt.

The board questioned the bridge’s ability to handle the extra traffic created by the construction project.

They discussed an inspection of the bridge, which would cost estimated cost of $2,300. The board believes that the inspection has value to the township and suggested splitting the cost with Mathiowetz Construction.

After much discussion, it was agreed to inspect the bridge and split the cost, so that the township and Mathiowetz will pay $1,150 each.

If the bridge is found to be structurally sound – that is, able to sustain a load rating of 9 ton per axle or approximately 85,000 pounds, plus the weight of steel plates, which are approximately 12,500 pounds for two steel plates that are five feet wide, 20 feet long, and one-inch thick for dead weight of nearly 100,000 pounds using one truck at a time on the bridge with the steel plates placed – then Mathiowetz will proceed.

After inspection by Erickson Engineering, if the bridge is found to be structurally sound, Mathiowetz Construction Company can use the Halfway Bridge, loaded or empty, with temporary steel plates in place, provided that traffic control signs to reduce speeds to 10 mph and signage stating to take turns when crossing the bridge to restrict traffic to one vehicle at a time are used. The gravel road must also be maintained during the project by blading and water for dust control during the project and when done, calcium chloride reapplied to road.

Truck hauling signs are needed; the road width should be maintained where it is; and at the end of the project the road and bridge should be in approximately the same condition as previous to the project, with the added benefit of the bridge planks and any other bridge repairs necessary and a new bituminous surface on the entire bridge.

The township will be responsible for the repair estimate done at the start of the project up to the capped amount of $4,000, making the total possible township expense to be $5,150 for the entire project including inspection and all repairs.

All other costs incurred during this project on this haul road route will be the responsibility of Mathiowetz Construction.

In other business:

• the township recognized Stephnie Russek as the new deputy clerk/treasurer for the township.

• the township received a gavel from Mark Olsen to replace the one that was stolen last September.

Before the last township meeting, board members Bill McMullen and John Czanstkowski went on a road tour with Wright County representatives to discuss the county’s takeover of Farmington Avenue and Brighton Avenue. McMullen reported to the board that the county may prefer that Farmington be straightened and Brighton be paved before any takeover occurs.

County Commissioner Jack Russek told the board that the county has the issue on its agenda for its meeting at the end of July. So far the county has not made commitments either way.

Bob Perry of MBE Construction Inc. brought the issue of reclaiming and restoring the pit off County Road 16 before the board. Perry stated that the owner of the pit is in favor of its restoration, and the sand there – 20,000 to 25,000 yards – is marketable.

The sand will be removed, and the land will be leveled to make it more favorable for farming.

The board passed the motion to reclaim and restore the pit off of Co. Rd. 16 with the stipulation that MBE Construction meet all mining and Wright County Planning and Zoning regulations and requirements.

Joel Zabel of Joel’s Machine and Design requested a CUP for operating his existing machine shop, as well as a variance. The variance is for the two homes that are within 500 feet of his shop. The homeowners within the 500 feet do not mind the shop where it is.

The board was concerned about the traffic of the business but was assured by both Zabel and a neighbor that the business’s traffic was minimal.

It was passed to allow Zabel a variance and a CUP, as long as Zabel would meet all Wright County Planning and Zoning regulations and requirements.

Gary Janisch presented the board with copies of a proposal he had written showing possible assessments to asphalt the gravel road from the peninsula to County Road 30, Fountain Lake.

It was explained to Janisch by the township’s engineer that there are two ways to request township consideration of his proposal. The first way is to present a petition that is signed by a two-thirds majority of the property owners in support, and the second is to have the township full board vote to proceed.

He also explained that no matter which path Janisch followed the work that needs to be done would have to show an increase in property value equal to or greater than what would be assessed to the property owner.

After further discussion involving cost, assessment year lengths, market values, and interest rates, Janisch didn’t believe that he could get a majority vote at this time. He decided that the best option would be to table the issue and revisit it in a few years.

Czanstkowski recommended that Janisch look into alternative materials/technologies rather than asphalt.

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