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Officials have good reviews for road work around county

Kandiyohi County commissioners Dennis Peterson, left, and Harlan Madsen, right, and assistant county engineer Ray Krossman get an up-close look at the nearly completed bridge Wednesday on Nest Lake near New London. Tribune photo by Carolyn Lange

WILLMAR -- A tour of the 2009 Kandiyohi County road projects generated good reviews on Wednesday.

"They do nice work," said Kandiyohi County Commissioner Dean Shuck, following a 2½-hour tour of some of the projects that have been completed and some that are still under way.

The nearly $6 million budget included two total road reconstruction projects, two bridge replacements and 16 bituminous resurfacing projects scattered throughout the county. Federal stimulus funding also helped fund extra-wide striping on road edges and warning signs on curves.

The work helps create a safe infrastructure for commuters, agriculture and industry, said County Administrator Larry Kleindl.

By making repairs before roads "get too bad," the county can extend the life of roads. "They do a great job of doing some preventive work," said Kleindl.

The county's public works department undertook two major road and bridge reconstruction projects, including a $2.7 million project on County Roads 41 and 24 that's being done in cooperation with the city of Willmar and a $2.3 million project on County Road 2 that's being done in cooperation with Renville County.

Both of those projects are still under way.

Gary Danielson, public works director, told the commissioners he has concerns about excessive moisture on a 1,000-foot section on County Road 2. Reconstruction is nearly completed, but he said heavy August rains are causing lingering problems with the gravel base. "And your drying days are pretty much over," said Danielson.

If the bituminous is put on the road this fall, it might not hold up during the winter freeze and spring thaw.

Even though the road is "highly traveled," Danielson suggested that the bituminous be delayed until next spring.

Leaving the busy road with a gravel base during the fall harvest season will require some extra maintenance, said Commissioner Harlan Madsen.

The commissioners got a look at a bridge replacement on Nest Lake near New London that had been on the list of deficient bridges in the county. That $296,000 project "really came in at a good price," said Assistant Kandiyohi County Engineer Ray Krossman. The old timber-frame bridge was replaced with a concrete culvert-style bridge.

The county also coordinated $2.5 million in bituminous overlay projects on 16 different roads, including five county roads, seven township roads and four county roads that also receive state aid.

As part of the road tour Wednesday, the commissioners drove down County Road 9 on the east side of Eagle Lake, and on County Road 26 to review ways to widen the roads to create a bike and pedestrian path that would link to the Glacial Lakes State Bike Trail.

Hills, narrow road widths and little or no shoulders on the busy roads will make that a challenge, said Danielson.

The commissioners also got a quick look at the new $1.1 million rescue squad building that's under construction on Lakeland Drive Northeast in Willmar. At 12,600 square feet and with a high ceiling to accommodate larger vehicles for the future and an upper level that could provide sleeping quarters for emergency workers in the future, the building looked a little larger than some commissioners had thought.

The design provided room to grow, said Kleindl.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750