Commissioners to consider railroad crossing safety projects

NEW ULM — Brown County commissioners will consider committing to Brown County railroad crossing safety projects at their meeting Tuesday, Aug. 21.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has requested local participation in funding railroad crossing projects. Up to $4,500,000 is available for state fiscal year 2021.

The State has been informed that the Federal Grade Crossing Safety Program will fund 90 percent of the cost of these projects and the local government would fund 10 percent. The estimated cost of a typical railroad crossing safety project ranges from $175,000 to $350,000.

Identified crossings in Brown County are on CSAH 8 west of Sleepy Eye, on CSAH 11 in Essig and on Boundary Street in New ulm, which is planned to become part of CSAH 13 in 2021.

The Brown County Highway Committee agreed to support the projects and fund the local share. Crossing projects were prioritized CSAH 8, Boundary Street and CSAH 11 based on traffic count and crash prediction factors.

Commissioners will also consider:

• Approving Brown County Public Health Director Karen Moritz to attend a County Opioid Summit Sept., 12 in Alexandria. The event is intended for departments involved with prevention, treatment, monitoring and enforcement related to opioid misuse. Attendees will learn and dialogue about possible approaches and interventions.

Summit registration is $50. A block of hotel rooms is reserved at a $119 standard room rate. The budget has funds to support one person to attend the event.

• The Brown County Public Health update includes information on a rising trend of vector-borne diseases. The message is to continue to apply DEET, properly cover exposed skin with loose fitting clothes in when in areas where there is tick or mosquito activity, especially grassy and wooded areas.

Avoiding dusk and dawn outside can minimize mosquito exposure. Pre-treat clothing and gear with permethrin-based products and keep mosquitos out of your home by maintaining screens on windows. Always check your clothes and body for ticks after being out in grassy or wooded areas.

In addition, the update read that the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers loans and grants, which can be used to abate health and safety hazards such as radon. Loans of up to $20,000 are provided to very low-income rural homeowners to repair, improve or modernize homes. Grants of up to $7,500 are available for elderly, very-low-income homeowners to correct health and safety hazards. Loans and grants can be combined for up to $27,500 in assistance.

For more information, visit

The county board meeting starts at 9 a.m. Aug. 21 in the courthouse commissioner’s room.