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Kandiyohi County, Minn., OKs $7.2M in road projects for 2013

WILLMAR — The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners gave Public Works Director Gary Danielson the go-ahead Thursday on $7.2 million in road projects for this year.

A final decision if all those projects will take place will depend on the level of state aid the county receives.

A major project on the docket includes continued work on County Road 9 by Eagle Lake. Danielson said most of the work on the road reconstruction project will be done this year and the road will be open to traffic, but the final blacktop surface and shoulders will not be completed until 2014.

The project also includes construction of a bike trail.

The county will contribute $360,000 toward Willmar’s project to extend Willmar Avenue across the railroad track and across state Highway 40 to join the new city street, “Industrial Drive,” that goes through the industrial park.

That project also includes eliminating the intersection at Highway 40 and County Road 5, where a number of accidents have occurred since County Road 5 opened in 2008.

Danielson said that intersection was supposed to be only temporary while the Industrial Drive project was completed. A delay in that project has meant the intersection has existed past its life expectancy.

Danielson said street lights and changes to the curve are also planned a little farther south on County Road 5 where the road intersects with 19th Avenue. The changes are expected to improve the sight line and safety there.

Meanwhile, Danielson proposed that Industrial Drive, which has not been opened yet to traffic, be classified as a county-state aid highway. He said it makes sense because 15th Avenue, which is also called County Road 23, is a county-state aid highway.

The city would still be responsible for maintaining the street but it would be managed by the county and be eligible for state aid funds, said Danielson.

The Commissioners did not take action on that proposal.

The list of projects also includes four roads the county currently owns that will to be turned back to the townships once they are improved brought up to safety standards.

One of those projects is County Road 38 in Lake Andrew Township that extends from County Road 40 Northwest and winds to Sibley State Park. The $650,000 project will include regarding the road in the current location. A stream that goes under the road near the park will also be moved slightly to make it “less dangerous” and create a favorable amenity, said Danielson.

The road has about 150 cars per day.

The county has been trying to turn back roads that no longer serve as significant traffic carriers for the country to the townships. Part of that process includes improving the roads before the township takes them over.

Danielson said two bridges, including one near Lake Lillian and one near Raymond are in bad shape and need to be replaced. He said, however, he’s concerned there may not be enough funds available.

With diesel prices at $4 a gallon and high asphalt prices Danielson is “doesn’t look too good” for funding extra projects.

Carolyn Lange

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

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