Goodbye winter white, hello construction orange: 2013 Douglas County road work plans revealed
Another winter has given way to Minnesota's second season - construction. Twelve projects are planned for the summer of 2013 in Douglas County. A bid opening is scheduled for June 10.
Two projects have been moved up to 2013 from the 2014 construction program due to carryover from last year's budget, a slight allotment increase in state aid and a grant for bridge replacement.
Douglas County Engineer/Public Works Director Dave Robley said work scheduled in the Ida/Carlos area on County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 34 is timely as the road is "starting to come apart." An overlay in Miltona was also bumped up to this year.
The county construction program is funded by state aid funds ($3,467,825), the county levy ($305,340), township ($10,446) and city funds ($125,000), state bridge bonding ($326,924), the state park road account ($65,000) and Park Legacy grant funds ($142,835). Projects this year will cost roughly $4.4 million.
"We did some revisions. State Highway 27 was turned back to the city [of Alexandria] so now the state highway system has 550 centerline miles."
DOUGLAS COUNTY ENGINEER/PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR
Robley said county state aid project funds include contributions from the gas tax, license tabs and motor vehicle sales tax.
"[County roads] are pretty much funded through property tax and the county levy," Robley explained. Construction on county roads is scheduled to be completed by mid-September.
Bridge replacement on County Road 1 south of Evansville and a new entrance to the Kensington Runestone Park will be paid through bonding and grants. Another bridge replacement is planned north of Carlos over the Long Prairie River.
Turnbacks in 2012 between city, county and state roadways have changed the county's highway system.
"We did some revisions. State Highway 27 was turned back to the city [of Alexandria] so now the state highway system has 550 centerline miles," Robley said.
In 2012, there were 542 total miles and County State Aid Highways accounted for 386 miles. Now, CSAH take up 400 miles with 352 miles paved and 48 miles of gravel roads. County roads span 150 miles; 64 paved, 86 gravel.
Construction projects from 2013 through 2017 were reviewed at the Douglas County public information meeting held on Thursday. Robley said the further out projects are scheduled, the more tentative they become.
The 2014 program, which is pretty well set according to Robley, includes projects in Garfield, Holmes City, Carlos (Nordic Trails) and Kensington.
"Maybe we've got to do more as a group...So they realize at the Capitol that we need more money for our roads."
DOUGLAS COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 3
Road traffic and roundabouts were discussed at the meeting. A transportation study has shown that there is not much through traffic in Alexandria.
"Alexandria is the destination," Robley said.
Residents still have questions about the roundabout planned south of Alexandria on Highway 29. Robley presented a Minnesota Department of Transportation video that helped explain the intersection option.
"It's not set in stone that it will be a roundabout...But if [MnDOT] puts one in, it will be one that works for large loads."
DOUGLAS COUNTY ENGINEER/PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR
A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has shown that roundabouts are safer than traditional intersections. Roundabouts eliminate left turns and allow for U-turns. The design almost eliminates T-bone and head-on crashes.
"It's not set in stone that it will be a roundabout," Robley said. "But if [MnDOT] puts one in, it will be one that works for large loads."
Highway 29 is designated as a super load route that can handle large loads. The proposed roundabout will be a single lane.
Commissioner Bev Bales raised a point regarding the transportation bill.
"Sounds like it's dead for this year and gearing up for next year," Robley explained.
Bales said the county may need to levy more and needs support of citizens to keep roads up.
"Maybe we've got to do more as a group," Bales said. "So they realize at the Capitol that we need more money for our roads."
2013 CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM
1 Evansville: Grading and a box culvert are planned for a 3.1 mile stretch of CSAH 1, 0.8 miles north of Lake Jennie Road to CSAH 82. A detour to County Road 5 will be routed while the reconstruction and bridge replacement are completed. The road will remain gravel during the winter months. $1,244,405 (August-October)
2 Carlos: Full depth reclamation and repaving is planned for 4.3 miles on CSAH 11 west of Carlos from CSAH 34 to Carlos Timbers Drive. The road will be closed for one day, to be determined. $1,064,607 (July-August)
3 Brandon: A 0.2 mile overlay is planned for CSAH 16 in Brandon from CSAH 7 to northwest limits of Brandon. $125,000 (September-October)
4 Ida/Carlos: Full depth reclamation for 3 miles on CSAH 34 from Pilgrim Point Road to CSAH 5 is planned, which will cause the road to be closed for one day, to be determined. $652,154 (July-August)
5 Alexandria: A traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Pioneer Road and CSAH 46 near Grand Arbor and the new Alexandria Area High School. $250,000 (August-September)
6 Brandon: A 1.3 mile overlay is scheduled for CSAH 82 from County Road 109 to 1.3 miles east. $181,836 (July-August)
7 Alexandria: A 1.6 mile overlay is planned from Arrowwood Lane to CSAH 34 on CSAH 104. $201,747 (July-August)
8 Brandon: A 0.5 mile section of Municipal State Aid Highway (MSAH) 155 in Brandon will have an overlay done from the south junction of CSAH 7 to the north junction of CSAH 7. $200,000 (September-October)
9 Brandon: A 0.4 mile section of County Road 57 will have an overlay done from MSAH 155 to the east limits of Brandon. $100,000 (September-October)
10 Miltona: A 2.1 mile overlay is planned for County Road 64 from CSAH 14 to CSAH 36 on the east side of Lake Irene. $205,340 (July-August)
11 Miltona: A 0.8 mile overlay is planned for North Lake Miltona Drive from Highway 29 to the public access. $75,446 (July-August)
12 Solem: The entrance to Kensington Runestone Park, 0.3 miles, will be relocated and built. $142,835 (to be determined)
1955 - President Eisenhower created the interstate highway system to boost economy.
13 cents - cost for a gallon of gas
4 cents - per gallon user fee imposed
3 percent - has been added to the highway system since it was developed but there are twice as many cars on the road.
Info from "Progress in Motion" video on www.transportationalliance.com.
Crystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.