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Going forty on 40


Fri, Aug 4th, 2006
Posted in Government

PRESTON - The county board on the first day of August was dominated by departmental proposals for the 2007 budget. However, when county engineer John Grindeland was ready to give the Highway Department's budget proposal, county board chairman Duane Bakke asked Grindeland about the forty mile per hour speed limit on the newly completed CSAH 40 south of Chatfield. Bakke complained that the low speed limit on the four mile stretch of road was "ridiculous."

Bakke said that he has received complaints about the speed limit even though the road was not in his district. The postings at each end of the four mile stretch between Hwy 52 and Hwy 30 are white speed limit signs, not yellow warning signs.

Grindeland explained that at a public hearing prior to the road construction, the public had requested the road retain its rustic ambiance as a rural road. He insisted that the road was "designed" to have a forty mile per hour speed limit and that the public supported the design and was aware of the speed limit imposed.

Mr. Grindeland made it clear that in order for the road to be designed for a fifty-five mile per hour speed limit, it would have cost twice as much. He stated that considerable rock would have had to have been removed. It would have required major destruction to reduce the sharpness of the curves and to level and flatten the road bed. The first two miles east of Hwy 52 are winding and hilly, while the next two miles are fairly straight and hilly. In order to create a fifty-five mile per hour road, Grindeland stated that there would have been a major impact on land owners. He suggested that in some areas of the county, because of topography, it would be almost impossible to design a road for fifty-five miles per hour.

"Seventy percent of the accidents in the State of Minnesota are run-off-the-road accidents," Grindeland emphasized. He noted that a forty mile speed is the lowest the state allows.

In a related matter, Commissioner Stafford Hanson asked Grindeland about the detour signs on CSAH 2 that is closed to all except local traffic. Grindeland stated that heavy traffic on a partially completed road creates too much of a liability for the county.

2007 Budgets

• Social Services Director Tom Boyd reviewed the Social Services budget. He requested a two percent social service levy increase in the amount of $23,874. Boyd made clear that about two-thirds of the dollars spent for social services in Fillmore County are "purely medical." Duane Bakke noted that about 15 percent of our population are either on Medical Assistance or with Minnesota Care. Commissioner Chuck Amunrud said that these numbers will continue to rise with an aging population.

• County Engineer John Grindeland explained that a good portion of the budget increases proposed for the Highway Department are due to increased fuel costs. Large increases requested in the budget for traffic signs are a result of increases in the price of aluminum according to Grindeland.

• Sheriff Daryl Jensen noted a twenty percent increase in his department for fuel costs. He said that accumulated "forfeiture monies" have been used to purchase radios and video systems for new squad cars.

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