Commissioners to consider MnDOT match to hire bridge historian

Franklin Bridge has structural issues

NEW ULM — Brown County Commissioners on Tuesday will consider a Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) offer of an 80-20 match to hire an historian to help in replacing bridge 2110, also known as the Franklin or Hale Bridge.

The commissioners’ meeting starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the commissioner’s room in the Brown County Courthouse.

The bridge on CSAH 8 over the Minnesota River is Brown County’s last truss bridge. Structurally deficient with a low sufficiency rating, the historic bridge was closed Aug. 1, 2017 after the discovery of a critical deficiency. The 17 feet wide, 250 feet long, six-span bridge was load posted at five tons for several years due to other structural problems.

In February, commissioners decided to accept federal funds to pay 80 percent of eligible costs to replace the bridge. Options ranging in cost from $1,196,000 to $1,831,000 include overtopping designs that vary in approach length and would raise the bridge deck four or six feet.

Since the bridge is considered historic, a study is required to justify bridge replacement. Alternatives must be investigated and shown to be unreasonable in order to justify replacement.

It is estimated that the 20 percent county share would cost less than $10,000. If the County hires a historian, it must be from a MnDOT-approved list.

A design engineer is also needed to work with the historian and design bridge structure that results from the study.

Commissioners will also consider:

• The $783,085 2019 Heartland Express Grant Application Budget plus $81,500 for a replacement bus. In addition, a resolution to enter into operational and capital contracts with MnDOT will be considered.

• Planning Commission recommendations including a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) application by Dean Schneider, Section 33, Sigel Township to renew and amend an existing CUP to allow expansion from 936 animal units (AU) to 1,560 AU (5,200 head) of finishing swine, all in the A-1 Agricultural Protection Zoning District.

In addition, a CUP application by DeLoy Berkner to allow expansion from 700 AU to 1,690 AU in a beef cattle operation all in the A-1 Zone; Final Plat Applications by Jed Lutgen, Section 17, Home Township on property owned by Allan Merkel. Split is a multi-lot subdivision in the A-1 Zone; and filed by Brian Domeier, Section 14, Sigel Township. Subdivision is an existing platted lot being split into two lots; and a Preliminary Plat Application filed by Casandra Anderson, 4.85 acres in Section 28, Burnstown Township. Parcel being platted is an existing building site being split off from tilled ground.

• Setting Redetermination of Benefit public hearings for County Ditch 35 and ROB for 11 a.m., CD 57 11:20 a.m. and CD 69 11:35 a.m., all on Tuesday, Aug. 21. CD 35 is an all-tile system with sufficient fund balance so no assessment will be considered. CD 57 will require 14.32 buffer acres, requiring assessment. CD 69 will require 7.75 buffer acres. That system has sufficient balance to cover buffer costs.

• The purchase of locked cabinet doors for the Auditor-Treasurer’s Office work center from Staple Business Advantage for $2,218.07. The work center was designed to accommodate an additional staff person in 2018 and provide an opportunity to securely store election ballots and poll books. Funds are available in the A-T office supplies budget.

• Approving Brown County Public Health to submit a letter of commitment for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program Planning Grant through HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) with the New Ulm Medical Center as the lead applicant.

Grant funds of up to $200,000 will fund a project director to carry out goals and support a consortium and a consultant to help with evaluation and analysis of area opioid issues.