WILLMAR -- Lakeside roads by Eagle Lake and Diamond Lake could be rerouted away from high-density residential and camping areas and into open fields under preliminary proposals presented Tuesday to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners.
The proposals, presented during a road and bridge committee meeting, got a favorable reaction from the commissioners. They told Public Works Director Gary Danielson to keep pursuing the plans and to start talking with affected property owners. Any construction would likely be a couple years away.
Danielson outlined options for moving a short section of County Road 4 away from the west side of Diamond Lake near Atwater.
The road currently goes through County Park 3 where camping sites are located on one side of the road and the swimming beach is on the other side.
Realigning the road to the west would allow the county to abandon the road through the park, enhancing safety, especially for children who have to cross the road to get to the lake.
"It's an accident waiting to happen," said Danielson.
He's drawn up two options for how to realign the road, which would include wetland mitigation that could present challenges.
Moving that part of the road wouldn't affect installation of the new sanitary sewer system around Diamond Lake that's scheduled for this summer. The sewer will generally follow the current road right of- way.
Even if the road is moved, Danielson said the sewer line will remain where it is, but easements would have to be obtained.
Danielson also discussed a new option for dealing with needed upgrades on County Road 9, on the east side of Eagle Lake.
Plans had been in the works for some time to re-pave the road, he said. But as he looked closer at the high traffic count, the numerous accesses from homes on the lake and the cost of implementing new urban design requirements, Danielson said it started to make more sense to move a section of the road away from the lake.
By shifting the southern segment of County Road 9 away from the lake and to the east to align somewhat with an existing gravel township road, safety would be improved, said Danielson.
Not only that, but rerouting a portion of the road would also cost about $850,000 less than reconstructing the road on its current corridor, primarily because the expensive urban design could be avoided. It would also allow opportunities for additional biking and walking trails.
Danielson said the new alignment is a "far superior idea" to improving the current corridor, although it would entail some mitigation of wetlands.
Another component of the proposal is to improve safety on County Road 26, which abuts County Road 9 and connects to the Glacial Ridge Bike Trail.
In other action:
* The commissioners got an update on construction plans for installing a sewage collection system around Diamond Lake that will be connected to the Green Lake Sanitary Sewer and Water District. They agreed that all of the campsites in the park will be connected to the system.
* New federal standards on the reflectivity of road signs will force counties, cities and townships to replace hundreds of signs by 2015. Kandiyohi County may revise its sign policy before that happens and may opt not to replace some signs, like deer crossing signs that are not required. Commissioner Richard Larson said the sign replacement project could cost the state $150 million.
* Danielson said the county received $369,000 in additional state funds over what had been expected for bridge replacement projects. As a result, four bridges that span drainage ditches will be constructed this year. The county's share of the project is $363,000.
* Approval was given for road resurfacing projects for this summer. Duininck Bros. Inc. was awarded the low bid of $2,168,776.