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County’s roundabout cost doubles

By Staff | Apr 8, 2013

The Faribault County Board of Commissioners received some expensive news from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Brett Benzkofer, the project manager on the Highway 169 project, attended the regular county board meeting on Tuesday with an update.

He gave the board a current figure of what the county is expected to contribute to the roundabout project set to take place this summer.

The county had originally budgeted $350,000 for their contribution to the project.

However, that amount will need to double based on the most recent figures MnDOT shared with the board.

The county’s cost could be between $724,000 and $795,000 depending on whether bituminous or concrete is used on the legs of the roundabouts that belong to the county and not the city.

“We won’t know which will be used until we accept bids on the project,” Benzkofer says.

The county entered the agreement on this project in 2007. Since then the guidelines of the agreement have changed resulting in a higher cost participation.

“I have a major concern with this price,” commissioner John Roper says.

He questioned the need for three roundabouts in such a short stretch of highway and whether reducing the amount of roundabouts would lower the cost. If a roundabout were to be removed it may lower the cost however it would delay the project significantly.

“I don’t see a point in delaying this project,” Commissioner Tom Warmka says. “But, twice what we budgeted is going to mess with our budget for the next four or five years.”

Benzkofer will request a repeal for the extra $380,000 put on the county.

“I can support this project if the price is right,” Roper adds.

The total cost of this project is around $8.5 million and will cover the repair of the road and the addition of roundabouts.

Roper told the board that the cost of this project could postpone the repairs planned in downtown Blue Earth.

“But, Blue Earth City administrator Kathy Bailey did inform me that 169 is the priority project,” he says.

No action was sought at this meeting regarding the cost of the project. Benzkofer was in attendance to present information to the board and answer any questions.

MnDOT should have the final word on the county’s cost by the next board meeting scheduled for April 16.