Commissioners approve upcoming road construction projects, bridge replacements

By : 
GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY
Bluff Country Newspaper Group

Fillmore County commissioners entertained a short agenda during the Tuesday, Oct. 23, board meeting. Included in the discussion were proposed construction projects for 2019. 

Highway Engineer Ron Gregg presented a resolution for the final payment of $31,518.91 to Allied Blacktop Co. for the 2018 chip-seal project, including 30 miles of pavement.  The board voted in favor. 

He then addressed a list of proposed construction projects for 2019, citing there is federal, state aid and municipal money and local option sales tax (LOST) to provide funding for the projects. 

Gregg pointed out projects crossed out in green marker as he stated, “Looking at our budgets, we had to back off on several of our projects…with bridge replacement and chip-sealing…the funding amounts we have in our various pots would be eliminated.”

He continued, “One of the things I had brought to attention was that County Road 115 northwest of Canton is getting really rough, and we had to pull these areas in green out of the program.” 

He added that County Road 115 was originally set to be dealt with in 2021, but the condition of the road moved the project forward.

Gregg also explained County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 1 to County 39 outside of Spring Valley “is constructed differently with wider shoulders, so we were able to acquire federal money for that because it has wider shoulders…the portion from 39 into Spring Valley will need some additional attention before it can be paved.” 

The listing also included a bridge replacement on CSAH 12 just outside of Preston, pavement reconditioning on CSAH 34, improving the Lanesboro fish hatchery road, replacing a bridge in Carimona and another in Jordan Township, overhauling CSAH 5 in the city of Wykoff and replacing a bridge on CSAH 4 near Washington — a one-lane bridge. 

Eliminated from the list would be the County Road 101 project, the County Road 104 bridge replacement and assorted chip-sealing projects. 

The commissioners discussed how to stay ahead of road and bridge deterioration and maintain its roads properly, after which Commissioner Mitch Lentz said, “Bottom line, we’ve got an infrastructure in Fillmore County that can’t be maintained. We’re doing the best that we can with the funds that we have.  There’s just not enough money.” 

Commissioner Randy Dahl agreed as he recounted how he’d lost part of his vehicle while delivering mail.  He quipped, “You know what’s really sad now?  It’s that I’m old enough to remember the roads that are really bad now when they were new and maintained.” 

Bakke offered to make a motion to approve the 2019 projects, and Commissioner Marc Prestby seconded.  Conversation then focused on the definition of “reconditioning” as opposed to “reconstruction,” as some objected to reconditioning a particular road — or grinding the existing surface and returning it to the roadway — unless it made the most sense to do so.  Once determined, the vote to proceed with the list of projects passed.     

Other business

County Recorder David Kiehne brought forward information regarding document management software, asked the board to consider a quote for the software and also for the replacement of the large format copier-scanner-printer his office uses. He noted the old copier can be either sold or put into service in another department of the county’s offices.  The commissioners chose to approve the purchase.

Administrative items encompassed approving Fillmore County Coordinator Bobbie Vickerman as the county’s Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust voting delegate for the 2018 annual meeting — with Commissioner Duane Bakke as an alternate.

The Board accepted the resignation of highway maintenance specialist Jay Meyer — effective Oct. 11.

Approval was given to hire a replacement case aide — effective Oct. 26, and advertising for a replacement dispatcher.