June 15, 2024

County facing major road construction season

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According to a report to the Grant County Board of Commissioners, by Grant County Highway Department Engineer Tracey Von Bargen, one of the busiest road construction seasons in recent Grant County history begins this week. It kicks off with the closure of Highway #10 between County Highway #2, on the east edge of Barrett, to Highway #79 west of Erdahl. The road will be closed for milling, grading, and realighment this summer, and eventual pavement replacement next year.  

The work will take place in two phases: First in the slough area of Highway #10 between #2 and County Road #36, wicking and fabric will be installed, and surcharge added to stop the sinking of the road bed.  Surcharging consists of applying load on the ground surface in excess of that associated with the long term development conditions to accelerate consolidation.  

Riley Brothers, contractors for the project, plan to complete the surcharging, wicking, and fabric installation by July, then that portion of #10 will be reopened to traffic with a gravel base. Local drivers can use #36 between #10 and Grant County Highway #21 as a detour.

The rest of Highway #10 from #36 to #79 will remain closed for the remainder of the summer as surcharge is added, grading and reconfiguring completed, to the first curve to the east, the big dip,  and the big curve to the north.  The Highway #10 project will not be done until 2023 when paving and curbing will be completed. 

Meanwhile, MnDOT will be resurfacing and widening Highway #55/#59 between Barrett and Elbow Lake. This project includes the realignment of the junction of Elbow Lake’s 3rd St. SE, and #55/#59. While that work is going on, there will be a detour on County Highway #8, a half mile north of Barrett, west to County Highway #54, then north to  county highway #25, two miles west to #1 into Elbow Lake via Division Street.

This project also included adding turning lanes off Highway #55/#59 onto Highway #21 and onto Highway #8.

By July, the realignment project should be completed and the #55/#59 detour will be #8 to #54 into Elbow Lake.

While all this is going on, MnDOT will also be resurfacing, and replacing culverts on Highway #55 between the State line and Wendell, and replacing a bridge, grading and resurfacing around the Mustinka River bridge on Highway #9, just north of Norcross.

Grant County Highway Engineer Tracey Von Bargen said the scope of these projects, including weekly updates and detours, will be on the Grant County Highway Department’s website towards the bottom of the page.

Law Enforcement 


Commissioner Dwight Walvante reported that he had been looking into funding for the proposed Grant County Law Enforcement Center. Walvante said he met with a representative of U.S. 7th District Representative Fischbach about possible federal funding and with Minnesota Representative Ingebrightson and Senator Westrom about state bonding.

The meetings were not very positive, Walvatne reported, adding that he had recently toured the existing Grant County Sheriff’s Office for the first time in several years.

“There is a great need, we need to just keep plugging away,” he said.

Commissioner Ken Johnson suggested a fundraising committee be set up.

Commissioner Troy Johnson suggested a professional grant writer be hired to apply for various grants the project may qualify for. He also asked the other commissioners for their thoughts on reconfiguring the first floor of the courthouse as a law enforcement center, even if it meant adding a small addition onto the courthouse.

Ken Johnson said he was willing to look into it, and felt the public would like to see this alternative looked into.

Walvatne, who is a former Grant County Sheriff, said the space is too small, configured wrong with entrances and exits. He also said because of the historical significance of the courthouse, it cannot be added onto.

Commissioner Bill LaValley agreed, adding he had recently toured the first floor of the courthouse with this in mind, said it would not work well for a modern law enforcement center. He also felt the historical courthouse should not be disturbed.

Chief Deputy Jon Combs said  he was willing to ask LEC architects Kline McCarthy to give an estimate of what it would cost to reconfigure the first floor of the courthouse into a LEC.

      Other business

The county agreed to a fuel surcharge added to the solid waste and recycling contract for Engebretson and Sons Disposal Service,to offset the high cost of diesel fuel. The surcharge will be for when fuel goes over $4.89 per gallon, and will go off when prices return below that level.

 The commissioners agreed to a contract with Field to Flyway Engineering to lower the water level on sloughs connected to Ditch #11, north of Elbow Lake. The contract is for $5,400 and will take effect in 2023, allowing Field to Flyway to apply for grants to not only work on Ditch #11 but also Patchen Lake and Samantha Lake. 

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