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County OKs second bridge project

Board also hears update on Safe Routes to School project funds

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Jul 11, 2021

Crews are making good progress with replacing the bridge on County Road 21 south of Brush Creek.

An 11-inch dip in a county blacktop road was a topic of concern for the Faribault County Commissioners when they met on Tuesday, July 6.

“The culvert under County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 13 across Judicial Ditch 1F (JD1F), one mile south of Minnesota State Highway 109, is failing,” Public Works director Mark Daly explained. “The bottom of the culvert is buckled and rusted out causing a large dip in the road surface.”

Daly told the commissioners the existing culvert is a 107-inch by 72-inch CMP (Corrugated Metal Pipe) Arch culvert.

“We had Houston Engineering perform a hydraulic analysis of the crossing,” Daly said. “They determined an 84-inch RCP (Reinforced Concrete Pipe) round culvert or a 102-inch by 52-inch RCP Arch culvert would provide similar, or slighty more, capacity than the current culvert. The round RCP culvert would not be available until next spring. The RCP Arch culvert is available this fall.”

Discussion was then held on what could be done in the meantime to improve the situation.

“We could fill the dip in with hot or cold mix until the culvert can be replaced,” Daly commented.

“When could it be replaced?” commissioner Greg Young inquired.

“Brunz Construction Company is already scheduled to replace a culvert two miles south of the one which is failing and could start work in late September,” Daly commented. “Combining the two projects would save us mobilization costs and would eliminate the need to close the highway twice.”

The board voted to have the County Highway Department fill in the dip and to have the culvert replaced with a 102-inch RCP Arch culvert by Brunz Construction at a cost of $94,785.

The County Board was informed the county will be receiving $91,000 in grant money from the state of Minnesota to aid in the completion of their Safe Routes to Schools.

“The grant was applied for through the Commissioner of Transportation and we received word the funding is available,” Daly told the board. “This money will be used to help complete the bike path on the west side of Blue Earth by Leland Parkway and for a sidewalk to connect U.S. Highway 169 to the Blue Earth Area High School.”

Daly provided figures which showed over $295,000 had been received for the project in the form of Federal Aid which meant only $75,392 had to be paid for locally.

He also explained the county was the vehicle which had to be used to acquire the grants but the city of Blue Earth would be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the paths.

Daly also provided the commissioners with an update on construction projects.

“The plans for paving CSAH 31 have been approved and work is scheduled for 2022,” Daly shared. “The bridge on CSAH 21 has been removed and crews have started putting in the pilings. Work has also started on CSAH 1.”

Faribault and Martin County Public Health sanitarian Tim Langer also attended the meeting to present a list of updated ordinances for the commissioners’ approval.

“When the state updates their ordinances, we have to follow through and update our local ordinances,” Langer explained. “One ordinance concerns food and beverages and the other is in regards to public swimming pools.”

The board voted to approve the updated ordinances.

Langer informed the board roughly half of Minnesota’s 87 counties have their own Public Health Department.

“It is more efficient. We can handle matters ourselves instead of waiting for someone from the State office to show up,” Langer noted. “I believe we have also been able to develop trusting relationships with the people and businesses we work with.”

Langer told the board their decision earlier this year to delay the collection of license fees from Jan. 31 to July 1 was appreciated by the area businesses.

“I cannot tell you how well that gesture was received,” Langer said.

Central Services director Lexi Scholten was at the meeting and told the board one person was going to be interviewed for the assistant County Attorney position.

Scholten also had news regarding an opening in the Central Services office.

“We have had 13 people apply for the Central Services assistant position,” Scholten said.

The Central Services assistant position is opening up due to the retirement of Clara Vereide at the end of July.

The board also:

• Approved the hiring of Anthony (AJ) Alleven as a maintenance man for the Public Works department.

• Approved three new hires in the Sheriff’s Department. They are Tanya Nichols as a part-time dispatch/jailor; Tiffany Cumming as a part-time deputy; and Dalton Potter as a dispatch/jailor.

• Voted to approve the hiring of Stacy Scofield as an administrative office specialist.

• Approved the hiring of Saxon Warmka as a buildings/facilities maintenance assistant for the Buildings and Grounds department.

• Voted to approve the purchase of a used large format plotter/scanner for the Soil and Water Conservation District.