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Kandiyohi County OKs drainage permits for wye project

WILLMAR — A pair of drainage permits for the railroad bypass project west of Willmar smoothly cleared the hurdle Tuesday for approval by the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners.

The two permits, one requested by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and the other by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, were filed this fall as part of the ongoing preparations for starting construction next year of the multimillion-dollar project west of Willmar.

Both were unanimously granted following public hearings Tuesday on each permit.

Close to 1,000 notifications were mailed out to property owners, but no one from the public showed up to testify at either hearing.

The railroad bypass and a partial rerouting of U.S. Highway 12 on the west edge of Willmar will cross county ditches at four separate points, requiring permission from the County Board acting as the drainage authority.

Engineering findings indicate no potential issues with flooding or other water-related issues, representatives of BNSF and MnDOT told the County Commissioners during the hearings Tuesday.

Construction of the new north-south railroad corridor will cross County Ditch 10 and County Ditch 46, more familiarly known as Hawk Creek, in two spots just east of County Road 55. The proposal calls for a 15-inch round culvert to be installed at each crossing.

MnDOT plans to build a new crossing, consisting of two 42-inch culverts, on County Ditch 12 where it meets the proposed new route of Highway 12 just west of County Road 5.

A replacement culvert also will be installed where Hawk Creek meets Minnesota Highway 40.

Paul Rasmussen, MnDOT project manager for the railroad bypass, said a preliminary stormwater and pollution prevention plan is being developed that includes the construction of retention ponds.

"There are several of them to control that runoff," he told the County Commissioners.

Future development in Willmar's industrial park might also require more water retention areas on individual properties if runoff is increased through the addition of impervious surfaces such as rooftops and parking lots.

But county officials are satisfied that the drainage crossings for the wye project won't materially affect overall water flow, said Mel Odens, Kandiyohi County Public Works director.

"It meets all our permit conditions. They did everything we asked for," he said.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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