By Roz Kohls
Meeker County State Aid Highway 18, south of Dassel, is slipping and sliding off its roadbed in four areas.
County Highway Engineer Ron Mortensen stretched his arms a yard apart to show the county board Tuesday how big the cracks are the movement is causing.
Knife River of Sauk Rapids and highway engineers found the road failures Aug. 28 while resurfacing 7.5 miles of CSAH 18 in the $2.2 million project.
Water got in between two layers of bituminous, and no one knows for sure why. The contractor believes the water is from underground springs, Mortensen said.
It’s not from rain, because the Dassel area received less than average rainfall this summer. Also, the wet areas are on top of hills or on hillsides, not in low areas, he said.
When the road was built between 1969 and 1974, a layer of four to eight inches of gravel was put into the road. When construction workers dug down to the gravel layer, they found layers of surprisingly moist clay. This was before Tuesday’s rain, he pointed out.
Commissioner Amy Wilde said CSAH 6, east of Dassel, had the same problem with intermittent springs.
MnDOT suggested repairing the road failures now, and doing the rest of the resurfacing next year. Mortensen said the 4.5 inches of bituminous the contractor has applied so far will hold up through the harvest and winter.
Temporary fill will be put in the driveways and field approaches of property owners along the edge of the road, so it won’t be difficult for them this winter if CSAH 18 can’t be finished this fall. Some of the edges of the driveways now are two or three inches above the edge of the road.
In other highway business, the county board opened bids for a township bridge 0.75 miles from the southern county line in Cedar Mills Township. The contractor will replace an existing culvert with a concrete box culvert, Mortensen said.
The county, which is administering the state-funded project, received eight bids. The two lowest bids were $61,863 from Sundblad Construction of Cokato, and $61,129 from Landwehr Construction of St. Cloud. The highest bid was $99,649 from Munson Corporation of Willmar.
Mortensen will review the bids with Cedar Mills Township before the contract is awarded.
In addition to the bid openings, Mortensen updated the board on the Bear Lake Road, or CSAH 15, project, southeast of Dassel. Two miles of the seven-mile project have completed grading as of Tuesday.
Mortensen is still concerned, however, that the contractor for the $1.8 million grading project, Central Specialties of Alexandria, won’t get the work done on time, he said. Central Specialties didn’t begin working until Aug. 8. The contract was awarded in June.