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Supervisors Review 2010 Grading Projects

By Staff | Apr 1, 2010

With the frost going out, thoughts are turning towards the upcoming construction season. The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors reviewed plans for county-forces grading projects for the upcoming season during the weekly board meeting on March 30.

Palo Alto County Engineer Joel Fantz presented the board members with a map detailing the projects being targets for the coming construction season, noting that one of the top priorities would be a stretch of gravel near the county’s Cylinder gravel pit, as the county will be crushing gravel at the pit this summer. Another area that will see some grading is located east of Ayrshire, and work in the area is to address shallow ditch issues and raise the roads up to address snow issues, according to the engineer.

In other road related items of information, Fantz advised the board that a pre-construction conference for the county road B53 project at Ayrshire was scheduled for Friday, April 9.

“They want to have their pre-con meeting on Friday, and actually start working the following Monday, April 12,” Fantz said. “That preliminary work will involve culvert extensions and will be done by the dirt subcontractor, Beck Excavating out of Spirit Lake.”

“They want to get going right away,” commented Board Chair Jerry Hofstad. “Maybe they can have it paved before the harvest.”

Supervisor Ed Noonan asked the engineer about the ongoing efforts to keep tree growth in drainage ditches in check. Fantz answered that a Secondary Roads employee, Steve Westfall, does spraying of trees in drainage ditches, but as far as large tree removal, private contractors would almost have to be called in.

“Do you think we are keeping up?” Noonan asked.

“I believe so, as best as we can,” Fantz answered.

“I think we should ask landowners who are aware of trees in ditches to let us know about them if we don’t get to them,” offered Supervisor Keith Wirtz. “They would know about trees in a ditch on their property.”

In a related issue, a request by Ron Girres for some drainage ditch work was approved by the board for a long-stick excavator contract. The work, along a stretch of Drainage Ditch 61 in West Bend Township Sections 1,2,11 and 12, will be limited to no more than $20,000. The request was approved on a unanimous vote.

Board members also discussed an issue with minor flooding over a road adjacent to Electric Park over the past weekend. Fantz reported that workers cleared rushes and other plant material in the slough area away from a pair of drainage pipes under the road and that the water then receded quickly.

Several ideas were discussed to address the situation in the future, from the replacement of the existing pipes with one larger diameter pipe to the placement of a protective fence near the inlet of the existing pipes to prevent future blockage by rushes and plant material from the slough area.

“I’d suggest that for now, we dip that inlet area out a bit, and put in a protective fence of some type to keep the reeds out of the pipes,” Fantz said.

“The question I guess I have is do you want Secondary Roads to have to always be checking to make sure it isn’t blocked?” Noonan pointed out.

“It would fall under our jurisdiction in the road ditch,” Fantz said, “It shouldn’t be that much of an issue.”

In a final item, the board will take part in a ribbon-cutting event on Tuesday, April 13, at 11 a.m. at the Kirby-Flynn Bridge, southeast of Emmetsburg, to officially re-open the structure to the public. The bridge was repaired and placed back into service over the past few months by workers from Cramer and Associates of Des Moines. The bridge had been damaged when a fire destroyed the northern approach of the bridge deck several years ago, prompting the closure of the historic truss bridge.

Board members also accepted a report on the annexation of three parcels of land into Lateral J of Drainage Ditch 60 near West Bend. Rick Hopper of Jacobson-Westergard and Associates presented the report to the supervisors, noting that the same family, who was not in opposition to the annexation, owned all the three parcels.

“The best way to describe this is that this is an involuntary, voluntary annexation, because the landowners are not fighting it,” Hopper said. “In fact, they are the ones that actually suggested this.”

The parcels of land in question have drained into Lateral J and have paid assessments to DD60, but also should have been assessed for Lateral J work over time.

The board accepted the report and will set a date and time for a public hearing for the affected landowners.