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Agreements for roadwork OK'd

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners has approved two road construction agreements with the city of Willmar for two phases of a three-phase project that will link Willmar Avenue with the new County Road 5 on the west side of town.

Phases one and two
The stop sign is pictured from the south Wednesday at the state Highway 40 and Kandiyohi County Road 5 intersection. A project will begin to link County Road with Willmar Avenue. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners has approved two road construction agreements with the city of Willmar for two phases of a three-phase project that will link Willmar Avenue with the new County Road 5 on the west side of town.

The first phase includes reconstructing Willmar Avenue from 18th Street to 22nd Street Southwest.

The county will pay $248,814 for the project. The city's share is $209,760. The second phase involves establishing the grade and installing utility work for a new road that will take Willmar Avenue in a new direction to Industrial Boulevard (old Highway 40).

The county's share in that project is $62,635 and the city's share is $397,730.

Construction will be completed this year.

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This new road will connect to a road that was constructed last year, but is still not accessible, that goes across the old airport and joins County Road 5 on the other side of the new industrial park.

That new industrial park road still won't be accessible this year, however, because the third and final phase of the project involves putting down bituminous on the new grade and building a new railroad crossing to replace the existing one that crosses Willmar Avenue. Funding for the new rail crossing and signals won't be available until next year.

When all segments of the project are completed, it's expected that the stretch of Industrial Boulevard that runs in front of Jennie-O's corporate office will close.

Commissioner Richard Falk was the sole commissioner to vote against the project on Tuesday. He said it was an "awful lot of money" to be spending at this time.

Falk also said the project was being done for the benefit of Jennie-O when the company has made "no indication they're interested" in expanding into the area that will be vacated when the current road is closed.

County Administrator Larry Kleindl said the new road alignment will improve safety in the area and the sooner it's done the better.

The current intersection of Highway 40 and County Road 5 has been the site of several accidents. When the new roads are completed, Highway 40 from the west will end in a "T" intersection.

Public Works Director Gary Danielson said efforts have been made to improve safety at the four-way intersection, including removing some brush and trees to improve the sight-line. He said it doesn't warrant a four-way stop sign at this time, but it is being monitored. Currently, traffic on Highway 40 must stop and traffic on the county road does not stop.

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Falk said people don't expect to have a county road go through a state highway, with the state highway traffic having to stop.

In other county action:

- The commissioners were informed that Colfax Township supervisors are refusing to accept a road that was built by developers in the Heritage Springs housing development on Games Lake even though it meets county highway standards. The developer is concerned that the lack of a public road status is preventing the sale of lots there.

Commissioner Harlan Madsen said even if the developer built an interstate, the township board has the right to reject taking responsibility for it. The commissioners agreed they did not want to accept the road and carry the cost of maintaining it.

- The commissioners approved a contract for services with Divine Hope Counseling, a new business that will provide chemical dependency counseling specifically for women and senior citizens. Counseling will also be available for individuals with a dual diagnosis of chemical dependency and mental illness.

- Deb West, director of community corrections, told the commissioners that a $60,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation will provide "bridge money" that will allow the Circle Sentencing program to continue for the next two years.

Related Topics: KANDIYOHI
Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at clange@wctrib.com or 320-894-9750
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