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Main St. bridge to be replaced

By Staff | Dec 7, 2014

The Blue Earth City Council already knew the county had plans to reconstruct two blocks of downtown Main Street in 2016.

But, last Monday night they learned there are also plans for another Main Street project that summer.

County engineer John McDonald was at the last City Council meeting with the news the Main Street bridge over the Blue Earth River, near the Faribault County Fairgrounds, is also slated to be replaced in 2016, as well.

“The bridge was first built in 1925, then remodeled in 1949,” McDonald said. “It has served past its useful life and needs to be replaced.”

The engineer says the bridge has a sufficiency rating of 40.8, on a scale of zero to 100, and has a 40-ton weight restriction posted.

A new bridge will be slightly different from the current one.

“The bridge now is 103 feet long and 50 feet wide,” McDonald says. “The new one we are proposing will be longer and narrower; 130 feet long and 36 feet wide.”

By making it narrower, there will be construction cost savings of $235,000, he explained.

“There is no reason to have it so wide,” McDonald said. “It was built that way because it was once part of State Highway 169.”

Besides replacing the bridge, the county also plans on resurfacing County Road 6 (Main Street) from 160 feet north of the bridge over Leland Parkway all the way to County Road 44, near the water tower and Kibble Equipment.

The new roadway surface will also be narrower than it currently is, McDonald said. This will also result in a cost savings of $110,000, he added.

The project is being funded 80 percent by federal transportation funds and 20 percent from county/state aid monies and state bridge bonding funds.

McDonald says the narrower bridge will be created by taking seven feet off both sides of the roadway. However, there will still be an 8-foot wide sidewalk on the east side of the bridge.

None of the councilman expressed concern over narrowing the bridge. McDonald said he had already checked with city engineer Wes Brown and he also had no concerns.

In other business at last Monday’s meeting, the council:

Went in to closed session to discuss the police union contract.

After coming back into open session, the council voted to approve the 3-year contract with Law Enforcement Labor Services, Inc., which includes a 2.5 percent pay increase for each of the three years of the contract.

Heard from city administrator Tim Ibisch that the proposed budget for next year has now been lowered by nearly $51,000 and will cause just a 3.1 percent increase in next year’s local property tax levy amount.

Ibisch said most of the cuts were made in the administration budget and no cuts were made to the police, public works, fire or pool budgets.

“I like to try and have a balanced budget,” Ibisch told the council. “And not one with any extra in it.”

The council will have to pass the 2015 budget and the property tax levy at their next meeting on Dec. 15.

Presented a plaque of appreciation to long-time Blue Earth Wine and Spirits liquor store manager Don Adams.

Adams recently retired after working for the city for the past 40 years.

Received a quote from Brian Salfer of LS Engineers for doing a survey of the former Ankeny Radiator building before the structure is demolished. The cost of the study is proposed to be $4,000.

City administrator Ibisch says he hopes to have the results of the engineering survey and the engineer’s recommendations back for the council’s consideration at the Dec. 15 meeting.

Ibisch also said there have now been two parties interested in giving quotes for demolishing the building.