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Intersection project approved by Kandiyohi County Board

WILLMAR -- The final leg of the three-legged stool was put in place Tuesday when the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners approved an agreement with the city of Willmar and Minnesota Department of Transportation to revamp an intersection on the north edge of town near the Health and Human Services Buil-ding. Willmar City Council approved the project Monday.

The estimated $682,532 cost of the project will be shared nearly equally between the three entities with the county and city each paying $227,488.

Bids will be opened Aug. 27 and construction is scheduled to start in mid-September, said County Public Works Director Gary Danielson.

A majority of the project should be completed this year "if everything goes right," said Danielson. If it's another rainy fall like last year, however, "you can take your umbrella and go home."

The design will mean chan-ges for those traveling north and south on Business Highway 71 who want to access the Health and Human Services Building and Law Enforcement Center on the east side of the four-lane highway, and the golf course on the west side of the highway.

It's hoped that by closing the median to east-west traffic, and adding "J" turns, the chance of accidents will be reduced.

Danielson said the design will allow travelers to be face-to-face with oncoming traffic before going across the high-speed highway lanes. Currently traffic crosses at a right angle, which can obstruct the view of oncoming traffic.

The intersection has been the site of numerous accidents, including fatalities.

"It's intended to reduce the accident rate out there," said Danielson.

The county will pay for its share by using savings realized because of lower-than-expected bids for 2010 bridge construction projects.

The commissioners also agreed Tuesday to open bids Aug. 23 for a new structure to store biosolids at the Green Lake Sanitary Sewer and Water District in Spicer. The extra storage will create adequate capacity needed when residents from the city of Kandiyohi and Diamond Lake are brought into the district system.

The bids will be awarded Sept. 7.

The commissioners were told there was a delay in the construction of the new lines because of vandalism to some of the large trunk line pipes.

It's believed that 30 holes were drilled in some of the pipes last fall while they were being stored outside in Kandiyohi.

The holes weren't detected when the pipes were laid in the ground but were discovered this summer when pressure tests were conducted.

The damaged pipes have been replaced.

In an update on the county's efforts to conduct a re-determination of benefits for all the county's drainage ditches, the commissioners were told there will be a hold-up in reviewing the ditches in the city of Willmar because of an apparent delay in action by the city regarding a possible petition to take ownership of those ditches.

The commissioners were led to believe the city was in the process of petitioning the county for ownership of the ditches some time ago, but learned Tuesday the city attorney had just received the request to draft the petition late last week.

"Obviously now there's going to be a considerable delay," said County Attorney Boyd Beccue, adding that the situation brings the project to "square one."

Many of the county's ditches haven't had benefits reviewed since they were built in the late 1800s. The review will determine who is benefitting and assess the cost of repairs and maintenance accordingly.

Meanwhile, Loren Engelby, director of the public drainage department, gave an update on new methods for cleaning sediment from ditches, reductions in nitrates because of an experimental drainage system used in the county and projects that are moving ahead on Lake Wakanda.



Carolyn Lange

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

(320) 894-9750