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County adopts updated priority listings of its bridges


Fri, Mar 7th, 2014
Posted in All Government

At the county board’s March 4 meeting a resolution was adopted rating the county’s deficient bridges. The list provides a ten year plan to replace, rehabilitate, or remove these bridges if and when funding is available.

The list is required by the state to receive state funding. County Engineer Ron Gregg explained that a bridge, especially timber bridges, may have to be moved up if they deteriorate faster than the others. There are thirty deficient township structures in the county.

Seven bridges are scheduled for construction in 2014. They are located on Nature Road (Fillmore Township), Grosbeak Road (Carrolton Township), Kind Road (Carimona Township), Kodiak Road (Carimona Township), 121st Avenue (Sumner Township), Jet Road (Fountain Township), and 150th Street (Beaver Township).

The typical cost for the township is only $20,000. The actual cost to replace these bridges ranges from $100,000 to $600,000. Commissioner Duane Bakke suggested that there really should be a justification of need for some high cost bridges to be replaced. Some small bridges have or could be closed where residents could travel around another way.

Commissioner Randy Dahl agreed that just because the bulk of the money is state or federal dollars doesn’t mean every bridge should be fixed. He added that bridges cost more due to state or federal requirements. Dahl suggested that flooding is less of a problem with smaller bridges that slow the water and debris compared to large structures that let it all rush through. Bakke said clear span bridges are much more expensive than culverts.

Chairman Chuck Amunrud maintained that engineering rules that come with federal and state dollars are in place for liability reasons. Bakke suggested federal dollars are being targeted toward major bridges like those that span the Mississippi River and are more limited for small, local bridges.

Gregg explained that he was a member of a Bridge Committee composed of state and county engineers. As a group they are looking at alternatives for more economical structures. He agreed that liability is an issue for MnDOT. A bridge that is located on a dead end road that is only there for a couple of property owners, for example, could be rehabilitated and then turned over to the property owners. However, if such a bridge washed out after being turned over to private hands, it would be the responsibility of the property owners to replace it.

Gregg also described another alternative for bridges using flat bed rail cars that have been taken out of service. They are 50 to 70 feet long and can be placed on an old abutment and have been used for this purpose in Iowa. Dahl said he doesn’t think small, narrow bridges that will be structurally sound for decades should be replaced, just because they are only wide enough for one lane of traffic or because the dual wheels of a tractor hang over the edges. Gregg said some of those small bridges on dead end roads could be good for 100 years, adding we have to get MnDOT to accept them. Bakke said any alternatives concerning bridges need to be considered.

Other Business In Brief

•An agreement with the city of Harmony for the reconstruction of CSAH 35 was approved. Harmony had already signed onto the agreement.

•The resignation of Shaun Hoff, Eligibility Worker, was accepted effective March 14 with thanks for three years of service. The Community Services Committee is going to look at whether or not it is necessary to fill this position.

•A payment of $1,068.75 was approved to Solbrekk Business Technology Solutions for Zix email encryption licensing from February 2014 through February 2015. This is the third year of a three year contract paid equally by Social Services and Information Systems.

The Technology Committee will look at other options for next year. A payment of $1,959.02 was also approved to Solbrekk Business Technology Solutions for Zix email encryption hosting services for February 2014 through February 2015.

•Long distance services will continue with Quest/Century Link. An agreement was approved for 36 months.

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