Commission considers route for Minnkota transformer
By Annette Tait
Road conditions are an ongoing concern in Oliver County, especially once frost has left the ground leaving roadways vulnerable to damage from heavy loads.
Ryan Sutherland, Vic’s Crane & Heavy Haul, appeared before the commission to further discuss the upcoming move of a transformer from the Hensler rail siding to Minnkota’s Milton R. Young Station. Sutherland appeared well ahead of the projected summer delivery timeframe in order to discuss the route with the county commissioners and iron out any concerns they might have.
The proposed route is the only option due to culverts, utilities, and turning radii for the large transport vehicle. The platform trailer transport uses hydraulics to spread the overall weight of 720,000 lbs. between 20 axles; the loaded height is 17 feet 7 inches.
Commissioners noted road resurfacing will begin this summer on the north half of Hensler Road, with completion of the resurfacing project projected for mid-September.
“For the route you’re proposing, our recommendation would be to be done before July or after December,” Commission Chair Lee Husfloen told Sutherland, expressing concerns that the weight of the trailer could interfere with the resurfacing project and/or damage work done on the south half of Hensler Road last year.
Sutherland will continue to work with the commission and Minnkota to seek a mutually acceptable solution. The transformer will be installed as part of Minnkota’s upcoming September outage.
Road Superintendent Kyle Miller reported on the low water crossing on the road near J.D. Bubel’s property. Miller recommended repairing the crossing rather than installing pipe, as pipe will either flood Bubel’s land or wash out.
“That’s got that 6,000 psi cement on it and they broke it,” Miller said, referring to heavy loads [exceeding the maximum limit] using the crossing. The road has an 80,000 lb. maximum load limit.
Appearing before the commission to discuss road concerns were Larry Orgaard and his daughter, Nicolette Orgaard, and John Smith. The Orgaards expressed concerns about how material is being pulled up into the roadways during grading, the effect on haying in the ditches, and how loose gravel is affecting traffic patterns on the road.
“I know why everybody hugs the inside corner,” Larry Orgaard said, noting drivers try to avoid loose gravel near the turn. “They should be slowing down and doing about 20 through the T intersection [30th Avenue SW and 26th Street SW].”
Miller noted that the county is already looking into ways to improve conditions in that area, with further review of the roadways in question scheduled for later in the month.
Smith expressed concerns about the condition of the west end of the Hannover Road, and asked when that stretch is scheduled to be re-graveled. Miller advised that gravel work is on the schedule for the Hannover Road and a number of other county roadways. Smith had further questions about the road width and the slope of the shoulders; Commissioner Darrell Berger noted that the county must comply with state and federal requirements.