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Street Woes Continue

By Staff | May 15, 2008

Street problems continue to plague Emmetsburg City Council. Monday, the council heard about frost boil problems on Ontario Street as well as new problems on Grand Avenue.

A contingent of residents who live on Ontario Street, and residents who live on adjacent streets that utilize Ontario, brought the problem to the attention of the council Monday night.

“I looked at pictures Mrs. Naig brought to me that were taken of Ontario Street,” said Councilman Brian Campbell. “There are three or four blocks that are pretty serious.”

City Administrator John Bird told the council that he had an e-mail from Kent Rode, engineer with Kuehl & Payer, regarding Ontario Street. Rode addressed the problem of frost boils and suggested installation of subdrain would be a more permanent fix. He also suggested ditches on both sides.

“The subdrain tile on each side of the road could cost $50,000 for that project alone, said Bird. “That’s not counting the road itself.

“What’s it going to take to firm up the road?” asked Campbell.

“Rock was discussed,” answered Public Works Director Bill Dickey. “But the engineer didn’t believe rocks would be anything but a short-term fix. I drove it this morning (Monday) and it’s a little better, but it (frost boils) will come back again next year.

“Whatever we do now should contribute to a long term fix,” said Campbell.

“Until now we’ve been asking the engineer to give us complimentary suggestions,” said Bird. “We have nothing budgeted. Do you want to engage an engineer?

At this point, residents who live along Ontario Street spoke to the council.

“There are two wet spots even on Duffy Street,” Darlene Naig told the council. “We have no way out. I couldn’t even get out to go to work. If there was an emergency, too bad… Two cars can’t meet on Ontario. We are blocked in. Something has to be done now.

Dave Ezarski told the council, “We’ve got to fix the drainage before we fix the street. There is a really low spot and I don’t know how you’re going to get rid of the water.

Jim Manwarren told the council he thinks cement tiles should be placed in the ditches to help the situation.

Jason Ezarski asked who owns the culverts, pointing out they have been full of gravel and dirt for years.

Councilmen agreed there is a need to make the road passable for this year.

“Do we need to take the maintainer down there and take the top off before putting rock down?” asked Councilman Cory Gramowski.

“It’s amazing how much better it’s gotten with drying weather,” said Dickey. “Now we don’t want to mix mud with the gravel that’s there.

“Can there be restrictions on the road so buses, tractors and heavy trucks can’t be on it?” asked Darlene Naig. “A school bus got stuck on that corner.

Dickey stated he had talked to the superintendent and the bus driver, but it did no good. “There is a limit of six tons per axle on that road because it’s not on the truck route.

As far as keeping buses, tractors and heavy trucks off the street, Bird noted, “First you have to catch them (violators) and then you can fine them.

“When it’s firm enough, we can put gravel on it and keep it up,” said Dickey. “Other counties are having the same problems as we are. The more we stay off the road with heavy vehicles, the faster it will firm up.

“If it doesn’t rain this week, it may heal itself,” added Councilman Pat Degen.

Mayor Schad asked if the police can enforce the weight limits on streets like Ontario.

Police Chief Eric Hanson answered that it is best if citizens report heavy vehicles, noting that officers spend only a small amount of time on those streets each day. An emergency embargo can be put into place, if necessary.

“I don’t think there’s a lot of extra traffic on that street right now,” said Dickey.

Grand Avenue

Reconstruction work on South Grand has been temporarily suspended. Work began the first of this month to either completely or partially remove street surface that had settled.

City Administrator John Bird told the council that sunken areas that had been excavated were not going down to the base of the problem. “We have stopped the project until we can meet with the engineers and the contractors.

The project called for complete removal of the street surface from 14th to 17th Streets. South of 17th Street only a portion of the street is scheduled to be removed because the crown of the street is still intact. The entire street will receive a new cover of asphalt.

Works Road

A proposal to hard surface Works Road was brought to the attention of the council.

City Administrator John Bird told the council he was unaware of the proposed project until the county engineer called him to say he is working on an estimate. Bird told the council that MaxYield is interested in having the road paved, due to the amount of heavy traffic on that road.

“If this project goes through, the lions share is going to fall into the lap of the city,” said Bird.

“We’re going to have two-thirds of the project,” pointed out Councilman Campbell. “Why weren’t we brought on board from the git go?”

Bird pointed out this is a big improvement for just a few property owners. He also noted that the roadway is in the flood plain. He promised to get back to the council after he had talked with County Engineer Joel Fantz.