December 9, 2015

Roadwork completion draws mixed reaction

BY DANIEL ARENS
Over the last year, several major road projects have occurred around the county. But now, with the year’s end county review of the status of the roads, there was a mixture of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The county approved releasing the contractors who have worked on County Roads 17 and 21, complimenting the work  that has been done on those roads. However, two other county roads did not receive the same kind of praise.

Work on County 15 is largely wrapped up, but the Mercer County Commission held that the grading of the road was not to standard, pointing specifically to the intersection of the county road and an old haul road. The commission moved to send a letter to Coteau Properties Mine, which is in charge of ensuring the road is maintained to standard.

County Road 25 has problems with the fences along the road which were placed by the fencing contractor, as well as  remaining soft spots on the road, movement along the sides of the road, and the possibility of heaving in the future. The commission moved to put together a punch list of issues they want to see addressed before releasing the contractor.

Two bid lettings were held during the course of the county meeting. The first bids were for paving of County Road 25, where a series of six bids came in between just over $3 million and just under $4 million.

The second bid letting was held for the purchase or lease of a new gravel truck. A total of five bids were submitted, taking into account the trade-in value of the county’s current truck as well as pricing for the replacement.

All bids for both projects were tabled until they could be properly reviewed.

Foreclosed properties were addressed, with the commission moving to acknowledge tax deeds for all properties except one located within the city of Beulah, which the commission sold to the city for a dollar. One foreclosed property that is still occupied was discussed, with the commission moving to charge a rental price of $400 for the month of December with the intention of speaking with the person living in the residence before the new year.

Kathy Baer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), came to the commission meeting to discuss the agency’s concerns with drainage actions the Mercer County Water Resources Board has taken to address flooding problems along County 27 east of Harmony Lake. The USFWS was concerned about wetland loss due to the drainage, although the danger from the road was confi rmed after a vehicle lost control and went into a ditch.

USFWS is looking for either the county commission or the water board to purchase land within the state equivalent to the amount of land lost due to the drainage. The land can either be reclamation of previous wetlands or development of a new wetland area.


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