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Rushford Village moves on road options; appoints Johnson mayor, Rasmussen new councilor

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Jun 6th, 2014
Posted in Rushford Village Government

Following a recent petition on a road management project, Rushford Village has opted to consult with engineers Bolton & Menk, Inc. regarding cash options for the city street maintenance and repair. Identified roads have shifted in priority due to the work scope and limited funding, but at least three projects are being considered.

Cooperative Way, constructed in 2008, has been something of a consistent headache for the city. The original work required repair soon after and prompted an extended warranty from the general contractor. Deficiency issues have been identified again and engineers have recommended the city request the contractor remedy them, per contract, prior to warranty expiration.

According to a field review, 21 concrete panels, approximately 12 feet by 15 feet in size, have significant longitudinal cracks. Per recommendation, the panels will need to be removed and replaced. In addition there are 40 locations on the road requiring full depth repair or spot full depth repair according to MnDOT standard details for Concrete Pavement Rehabilitation. This includes removing the concrete, or pieces of it, placing reinforcement bars and dowels, replacing the concrete, and sealing the joints.

Lastly, 40-60 percent of the joints in the roadway are missing sealant. According to city councilor Gordon Johnson, this work was done just two years ago. However, engineer Brian Malm noted that if not applied correctly, the sealant can be easily pulled out by road traffic. Furthermore, Malm noted that a road of six years shouldn’t need any sealant repair, let alone twice in six years. Repairs that were previously completed are failing or showing signs of failure. Additionally, some of the repair areas appear to have settled below the surface of adjacent concrete, indicating previous repairs were not doweled or tied to adjacent pavement.

Malm is willing to forward his report to both the general contractor and subcontractor responsible for the work, as well as a formal letter requesting repair of deficiencies, and is reviewing all original project plans and specs, contracts documents, and the warranty information. “You’re putting them on notice that there are issues here that need to be fixed before the warranty is up,” said Malm. “But, I caution you, they’re not going to be willing to do all of it. The issue isn’t the thickness of the base, but imperfections of the base. Just because tests pass, it doesn’t relieve you of your responsibilities. They’re not going to like this and they’re going to fight. You’ll have to negotiate,” he continued.

The second project on the priority list is the Tuff Lane bridge, which was listed as deficient by the county and the work is being mandated. “This is where I begin to fail you,” noted Malm, referring to an attempt to lower the cost of related work to a budgeted $50,000. Similar projects were looked at and the recommendation is to remove the bridge, replacing it with a series of box or arch culverts. The bridge has overtopped during substantial rain, involving an area with a watershed of 1,700-2,500 acres. However, the county’s deficient rating, rather than the hydraulic capacity of the bridge, is the largest concern.

Replacement construction costs are estimated at $60,000-80,000, but additional engineering and permitting costs would be required. According to Malm, the Fillmore County Soil and Water Conservation District and Minnesota DNR would require a public water permit and conditions would likely be placed on the project. The Army Corps of Engineers would also claim jurisdiction over the water, through the federal Clean Water Act, which would add further conditions and permitting. Those costs are estimated at $15,000-20,000.

There may be funding for the project through the Town Bridge Fund, but state funded assistance would add conditions include road widening at the bridge. Infrastructure programs, as noted by Malm, cost money to go through. However, by applying for the funding, the city will be put on a waiting list, which will buy some time on the project. “We have to bite the bullet. We have to do something,” added Mayor Dale Schwanke.

The reduced scope of the planned street plan has identified a third project including seal coating of Meadow Avenue, from Goodrich Street to Hayes Street, Oakview Loop, and Laura Lane. While they had both Meadow and Oakview had been part of the larger project for 2014, Laura Lane had been previously listed for seal coating in 2019. However, documents from Bolton & Menk note, “Given the fact that the larger project will not be moving forward, and the lower condition roadways will likely deteriorate into a higher cost rehabilitation category now, seal coating Laura Lane would certainly be appropriate at this time.” Seal coating is typically done every five years and the road, while the best rated road in the city, is past that point. “If you’re going to spend maintenance money, spend it on the good roads first,” added Malm.

In regards to Meadow Avenue, engineers have determined that a portion of the road, from Goodrich to Hayes, was lower condition than expected and should receive an overlay, along with 100 feet of Goodrich.

The entirety of the third project has a price tag of $71,779 with Laura Lane at $5,050, Oakview Loop at $17,342, and Meadow, from Hayes to Highway 16 at $3,661. The additionally recommended area of Meadow Avenue, from Goodrich to Hayes, and the one block area of east Goodrich Street are estimated at $45,746.

Malm also noted that with reduced project scope, the city loses appeal of economy scale for contractors. While he believes the estimated numbers are right, the city will have to wait for bids to come in on a seemingly small project some may not want to take on.

Engineering for the originally planned 10-year project was 85-90 percent completed, but was stopped following the petition. Still, the city has an estimated $27,000 of engineering costs to date. $50,000 and $40,000 are in city fund, budgeted for improvements, as well as $100,000 budgeted for the Tuff Lane bridge work. “Don’t put a Band-Aid on it,” cautioned Schwanke, who officially resigned as mayor June 5. “Bite the bullet and get it done.”

The city will move forward with the projects as described to try and get actual figures for the work.

In other road news, the city has adjusted its policy for assisting with dust control for Village residents. The previous policy allowed for a reimbursement of $50 per application, limited at two applications. Following research into options for dust control and associated costs, the city has amended the policy to assistance of up to $.30 per foot, with a maximum of 400 feet, limited to two applications per year. Residents may contract for pine tar, calcium chloride or magnesium chloride application for either one or two applications, at any length of their choice, up to the maximum length, and the city will reimburse per the policy following invoice submittal.

In regards to the council vacancy, following Schwanke’s resignation, mayor pro-tem Gordon Johnson will assume mayoral responsibilities. One application, from Chad Rasmussen, was received for the council seat vacancy. It was approved unanimously and the seat will be effective June 17, following swearing in and filing of oath of office.

“Thank you all for your efforts during my time on the council,” noted Schwanke. “I wish you all continued success in keeping the city operating.”

The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Tuesday, June 17, at 7 p.m., at the Village Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.

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