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Beaver Dam On Hit List

By Staff | Sep 30, 2008

Despite the calendar change of seasons, road-related work continues at a rapid pace by the Palo Alto County Secondary Road Department. Palo Alto County Engineer Joel Fantz reported on various projects to the Palo Alto County Supervisors at the board’s weekly meeting Tuesday, Sept. 23.

In his report, Fantz advised the supervisors that there had been a change in plans regarding the crushing of gravel slated for this Fall. Originally, gravel was to have been crushed at a gravel pit in Clay County that is leased by Secondary Roads. However, after looking at needs and quantity, the crushing has been moved to the Emmetsburg pit.

“We’re just going to postpone pulling the gravel from the Clay County pit,” Fantz explained. “Instead, we’re looking at crushing 80,000 tons out of our Emmetsburg pit, so we can better maximize our fuel and labor costs for the crushing.”

The county has a contract with Hansen Construction of Algona to crush gravel, at a bid price of $2.10 per ton, with the pricing good through the end of this year.

“I’m sure we’ll see increases in Hansen’s crushing costs next year due to fuel costs,” Fantz said, as the board nodded heads in agreement. According to Fantz, Hansen has begun stripping topsoil to the east of the existing pit in preparation for the crushing.

After discussing a pair of beaver dams that were reported to the board a week earlier, another dam was discussed by the supervisors near the outlet for Drainage Ditch 80 in Nevada Township. Fantz noted that the secondary road crew could remove the dam, but to actually get to the site would require a bulldozer to break a trail through plum thickets and undergrowth.

“A crawler excavator could get through there and knock down anything in its way,” observed Supervisor Keith Wirtz..

“Could we have Richard Schany go out there with his excavator and take care of that?” asked Supervisor Ed Noonan. “We should get somebody out there to get rid of the beaver. You can trap beaver anytime if they’re causing damage.”

Noonan suggested that Schany contact Jim Moser, owner of the land adjacent to the dam, to take a look at the site.

“That’s a good idea,” agreed Supervisor Ron Graettinger. “Let’s have Schany give us a quote on it and get it done.”

The discussion turned towards the Depew pavement project, with Wirtz asking how the project was progressing.

“We’re probably about two weeks away from finishing all the preliminary work,” Fantz replied, “The grading, shoulder widening and culvert extensions. The utilities have worked very well with us, but we’re still waiting for Alliant Energy to come out and move their utilities, but I think they’re waiting for us to finish to see just where they have to move things.”

Fantz noted that his office staff is working hard to finalize the bidding plans and specifications to make a January 2009 bid letting for the paving project. “I’m requesting that the Department of Transportation have this project pushed as far forward on the construction schedule statewide as is possible, and maybe even allow some free winter work in April, if possible.”

According to the engineer, it was thought that having the inconvenience of road closures during planting season would be less difficult than to have the road closed during the harvest.

“Once the plans are approved, the bids have been let and a contractor on board, we would plan to have a public meeting for those folks along that corridor to explain what will happen, like we did on the Graettinger project,” Fantz noted.

In a final item, Fantz advised the board that surveyors from Kruse, Cate and Nelson of Spencer were surveying along North Huron for the proposed bike trail. Because of the jumble of property lines for right-of-way along the lakeshore for the roadway, Fantz asked the firm to do some study on the records in conjunction with their current surveys to help organize the records for Secondary roads.