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Dust Creates Problem Along Lake’s Shore

By Staff | Aug 13, 2009

When there is no rain, the dust flies and it affects people who live along gravel streets. Mary Brown brought such a concern to the attention of Emmetsburg City Council last Monday.

Brown’s home abuts Wigdahl Point, a popular street for everyone from walkers to bicyclers to drivers as they proceed along the shore of Five Island Lake. She requested a second layer of dust coating be applied to the street.

“I called Bill Dickey (Public Works Director) and he said the city pays for just one application and then it’s up to the property owners,” said Brown. “I feel that’s not adequate maintenance of the road.”

Brown cited the 2003 policy that the City Council adopted, where the city would apply dust coat once and any other applications be paid for by property owners. She pointed out that the policy was adopted when no one was living on Wigdahl Point.

“I want to revisit that policy,” she said. “There is a lot of traffic on that road and the dust is a health hazard. I’d like to look at the policy and see if we could re-oil every six weeks or so. If you are not grading the road, maybe that would offset the cost of oiling.”

Dickey pointed out that there are other parts of town that must pay for additional dust control applications.

“We ran into this when we set the policy in the first place,” said Councilman Pat Degen.

“When traffic speeds up, that’s when the dust is the worst,” Brown told the council. “Maybe we could slow the traffic down with speed bumps. Or why not close it.”

Police Chief Eric Hanson was asked about the amount of traffic and speed of traffic on Wigdahl Point. “We don’t monitor the amount of traffic,” Hanson said, “and we have not had any reported complaints of speed that I know of.”

Council representative Sandy Pelzer note that dust is a trigger for asthma. She specifically pointed to Wigdahl Point and the area north of Lakeshore Drive as troublesome, public access areas.

Councilman Steve Finer noted that crushed blacktop was placed on the gravel road on North Lakeshore Drive. He asked Dickey if that had helped.

“It’s helped, but there is still dust,” said Dickey.

Finer then mentioned that crushed asphalt might help Wigdahl Point.

“Are we too late for this season?” Pelzer asked. “It’s (Wigdahl Point) on the lake and it’s public access.”

“If you change the policy, you can take the calls,” commented Degen.

“We need to look for a more permanent solution,” added Finer. “Maybe next year we could put down crushed asphalt and then dust control.”

Dickey noted that had there been more precipitation, it would have re-activated the dust control that is already in place. “A little bit of moisture keeps it rejuvenated,” he said.

Mayor Schad suggested trying crushed asphalt to see if it makes a difference.

Dickey noted that crushed asphalt is run through a grinder. There was also a suggestion of crushed concrete.

“With the application of any material, we will have to grade the road once each week,” said Dickey.

“We’ve got time this fall to see if it’s going to work,” said Councilman Brian Campbell, “then we can do something different next spring.”