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Rushford Village selects engineer for road work

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Sep 6th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Village Government

By Kirsten Zoellner

Following several months of discussion revolving around road issues, and a request for proposal from four firms, the city has contracted with Bolton & Menk, Inc. The purpose of the collaboration is to head off potential stumbling blocks on work proposed for County Line Road, as well as seeking professional recommendations on sealcoating and road widening.

Three firms responded to the request with two coming in with similar numbers. Bolton & Menk came in with the low proposal, a $10,000 not-to-exceed base price and lower additional per hour rates. CAD plans will be developed with public GIS information.

“We’ve got a good understanding of what you want,” said Brian Malm, of Bolton & Menk, in reference to an on-site review of the road. There are currently no major maintenance issues that the engineer can see that would hinder the project, but work on drainage and shoulder, as well as prepping a good base, to settle over the winter, are key.

Project completion will not be done in 2013, due to unavailability from the proposed contactor, but some prep work will be done this fall. It was noted that any work done after October 15 is a risk anyway. “High quality density is the key to a good asphalt project,” noted Malm. Some seal-coating could be done, but it depends on the quality of the road. “With seal-coating, you want to do it in the beginning of the road life to preserve it. Once you’re over that, you’re just throwing good money over bad.”

Bolton & Menk will prep the project, to get it ready for bidding, but it’s unlikely that any bidding will take place before the end of the year. There is no benefit for the city to take early bids with contractors having to project material prices so far in advance.

Once target roads are selected, bonding will be done in 2014 with a potential spring/summer timeframe for road completion. It was noted by Mayor Dale Schwanke, however, that a slight bonding issue could arise that would require a second public hearing.

According to consultant Mike Bubany, who is working with the city on the project, only the roads and sections laid out in discussion during the August 19 public hearing can be included in project bonding. Should the city opt to add additional segments to particular areas, a second hearing will be needed.

The city limited bonding for the projects at $550,000. “We can always take away, we just can’t add,” said Schwanke. If project areas are lengthened, the city may pay for it with other means. If bonding is done this year, the city will have to draw down $50,000 before December 31.

The city is also moving forward with the issuance of an interim use permit for Tri-County Electric Cooperative to install a 40 kilowatt solar array at its headquarters. With no zoning objections, the project is an exciting one for both the city and the company.

“It’s an experiment for us to learn how it works,” noted Tri-County Electric Vice President of Marketing & External Relations, Ted Kjos. “We’re hoping to gain knowledge and see how the energy would perform at our location.” One of the key bits for Tri-County is how the solar energy can be captured and injected into their current system, potentially offsetting peak energy times and lowering overall wholesale cost. “It’s advantageous. It’ll depend on member interest and engagement. Those members that participate will share in our success.”

“We’ve worked this out with cooperative organizations to make it profitable, reducing the total project cost,” said Tri-County Electric representative Ted Kjos. Members will be able to purchase capacity for solar energy, but the cost is still unknown.

A 25-year project, the array warrantied for the length of the program and Tri-County is still considering manufacturer quotes. The array will not be the conventional pedestal model, but a low-profile option with a floating framework that is described as, “waist high.” It will be located on the west side of the headquarters, located between Highway 16 and 30 on Cooperative Way. Total production values are still unclear.

Tri-County’s timeframe for the project is this fall, but the project could be pushed back to spring of 2014 if needed. “This is a demonstration project, too,” added Kjos. “We’ll have signage in the area. There is the public aspect and people will come and look, we hope.”

The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Tuesday, September 17, at 7 p.m., at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.

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