April 8, 2015

Commission moves on road issues

By Chris Erickson

A number of larger road-related issues took up quite a bit of agenda time when the Mercer County Commission met last week.
Shauna Laber, Basin Electric, approached the commission about a land purchase near Dakota Gasification Company’s Great Plains Synfuels plant. Laber had previously spoken to the commission regarding a rail spur adjacent to the existing spur to the north of County Road 26. She noted the company had realized there would be some encroachment of the spur on county right-of-way, and asked the commission’s permission to purchase the approximately 1.6 acres. She offered the same price rate the county had offered Basin for County Road 17 road widening, $700 per acre.
“It’s like property - between a county road and a rail spur - so we figure it’s got to be worth about the same,” she added.
The commission unanimously approved the request. Laber also spoke to the commission on how there will be a huge workforce coming in once the project starts, a workforce which will be in place for three years. She said because the project is located a certain way, all other area industry personnel will be passing by the workforce that will be turning off for that project. Because of that, Laber stated, the Basin team is working on the possibility of a right-hand turning lane.
“We wanted to make sure that the county was aware that we are going to have a huge impact on traffic on County Road 26,” she said. “We are prepared to work with you in any way we need to or should deem appropriate. We will have a big impact for a long time.”
Laber said Basin will work with the county to ensure safety in that area throughout the duration of the project.
In other zoning business, the commission approved two conditional use permits for non-farm residences for Todd Kollman, and for Bill and Jamie Tryon.
County Roads Superintendent Ken Miller brought forward a purchase of a snow plow truck, which was unanimously approved, then moved on to a recently-broached topic of permit fees.


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