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Costs to repair Renville County ditch top $1 million

OLIVIA -- Costs to repair Renville County Ditch 66 are proving higher than expected and have now topped $1 million, according to information presented Wednesday to the Renville County Board of Commissioners acting as the ditch authority.

Tom Cherveny / Tribune file photoCD66
Tom Cherveny / Tribune file photo Costs to repair Renville County Ditch 66 have topped $1 million, according to information presented to the Renville County Ditch Authority on Wednesday. The ditch is shown just downstream of Olivia in this file photo from earlier this year.

OLIVIA - Costs to repair Renville County Ditch 66 are proving higher than expected and have now topped $1 million, according to information presented Wednesday to the Renville County Board of Commissioners acting as the ditch authority.

The commissioners will be meeting in January with the project engineers and contractor to consider additional work.

The ditch runs from Bird Island to Olivia and connects to the East Fork of Beaver Falls Creek. It was upgraded and rerouted as part of a $2.2 million project in 1998.

The Renville County Board of Commissioners earlier this year awarded a $617,000 bid to repair the ditch. An engineering analysis identified sloughing throughout the open ditch, culverts that had washed out, and multiple locations where sediment accumulation and vegetation buildup were impeding flow.

The project has incurred an additional $430,000 in costs to remove spoil piles created by the repair work, according to Seth Sparks, drainage construction manager for the county. It was not possible to estimate how much spoil material would need to be removed when the project was originally bid.

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The work completed to date includes the construction of a bench along a 12,400-foot section of the ditch bank in the lower reach of the ditch. The commissioners approved constructing the bench to accommodate equipment for future cleanouts of the ditch. The ditch is too deep in the lower reaches for conventional booms to reach.

Sparks told the commissioners that it appears necessary to build an additional 60 feet of bench in the ditch, at an estimated cost of $60,000 to $70,000. While not as deep as the area where a bench has been built, this 60-foot segment is sloped at more of an angle. Conventional booms cannot reach the ditch bed there either.

Wet conditions last year have delayed work. Sparks said work to lower the ditch bed at a road crossing that was part of the project bid will be undertaken in the coming year.

Costs for the project will be assessed against 10,260 acres in the ditch system, including the city of Olivia.

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