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Rushford discusses upgrades, land surveys, bluff issues

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Jul 12th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Government

By Kirsten Zoellner

Rushford, Minn. has seen its share of upgrades in the last six years of recovery from massive flooding. Several upgrades were revealed by the flood itself and even more revealed by those initial upgrades. As the work is being done on the western portion of Highway 16, engineers have discovered multiple issues.

One issue is an undersized storm sewer line, with reversed sloping. Otomo Engineering has drawn plans to upgrade the pipe and correct the drainage issues while the state has the highway torn up. Two lines in a catch basin are also an issue and will likely be upgrades. One other property on along the highway has a “saddle” on its small line, which isn’t properly connected to the service main and already has two breaks.

“How do we move forward and prevent this type of substandard connections to our system that end up causing us grief” asked Councilor Vern Bunke, referring to the pipe connections and construction. “Moving forward, I’d like to see better policies and procedures to make sure we’re getting our money’s worth not just getting the work done.”

“The type of materials and the connection are two separate issues,” noted City Administrator Steve Sarvi. “With the materials, it’s no different than anything else that was acceptable at one time and isn’t now.”

“One of our duties as a council is to make sure that council isn’t sitting here years from now dealing with this. We need to do the best for the community,” added Councilor Mark Honsey.

The council unanimously approved the proposal from Otomo Engineering for the storm sewer reconstruction project. The bid was awarded to TJ’s Trucking & Excavating, Winona, Minn. for a cost of $34,389.

The council also approved having Blumentritt Land Survey to conduct a survey of the proposed Rushford Inn site north of Highway 16 to properly identify other city property and easements; either existing or to be established. “The city owns property to the east, but there’s no exact survey of the properties. We need to delineate where the utilities are,” said Sarvi. “We need to determine storm water collections, protect utilities, and define the easement.”

“If the city needs a utility easement, now is the time to get it,” added Josh DeFrang, of Otomo Engineering. The city is also considering an alley on the east, with possible restrictions with passage over gas mains.

Largely, the city and council are excited at the opportunity for Rushford to have a motel near the trail system. The proposed post and beam design was dubbed “attractive.” The motel will include a meeting room for 120 people and will be designed with a build-ready pad for any needed additional rooms. According to Sarvi, the plans include a floating slab design, with geothermal heating and cooling. “It’s planning future-wise,” added DeFrang.

The topic of Magelson’s Bluff, particularly road issues was also discussed at length. According to Councilor Robert Dahl, the road has been graded with gravel being shifted the outside and inside of the road, leaving the road crowned weakly and water shedding poorly. “If you graded the gravel back in and bladed off the shoulders, you might be able to reclaim some of the rock,” noted Dahl. “It’s wasted possibly one to three truckloads of gravel. The road is not in very good shape.”

DeFrang estimated that gravel is roughly $15 a yard, with 10-15 yards in a truck load for most large trucks. However, the idea of paving the gravel portion of the road, or seal coating it was an oil or tar, was also discussed. DeFrang recommended against it, noting it may not even stay on the road in that location.

“It’s worth exploring the options,” noted Bunke. “It’s definitely an asset to the city. Maybe we need to look at the whole thing; where you park and walk. It sounds like a good project for the Trees, Trails, and Parks Board. It’s definitely going to take more planning.”

The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Monday, July 22, at 6:30pm, at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.

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