Nicollet County plans to rebuild Highway 12

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Nicollet County Highway 12 remains underwater several miles northwest of Courtland Thursday. Concrete barriers have been installed on the highway. Nicollet County Commissioners discussed the topic Tuesday and rejected a one-lane road temporary repair option. The Nicollet County Highway Department is working on plans to reconstruct the highway, raising it two feet.

OK 3.79 percent tax levy hike

ST. PETER — Nicollet County Public Works Director Seth Greenwood told commissioners Tuesday that plans and specifications for the reconstruction of 2.3 miles of County Highway 12 are being developed.

The plan will include right-of-way acquisition. Geotechnical work is complete and consultants are working on project design, Greenwood Said. The plan includes raising the road two feet above a natural water outlet.

In addition, $750,000 in Federal Highway Disaster Funds and other funds may be available for the project. Greenwood said the county is committed to the project with or without disaster funds.

Earlier in the meeting, Courtland resident Tim Waibel expressed concerns about County Highway 12 flooding. He encouraged the board to look at options to resolve the issue.

Commissioner Luepke moved to contract with Mathiowetz Construction to raise County Highway 12 3 feet and open one lane until a permanent road solution is complete. The motion died due to lack of a second.

Commissioner Kemp said with little or no data given prior to the discussion, he could not vote in favor of the temporary road option.

Greenwood said Mathiowetz Construction proposed using crushed bituminous and concrete to raise the road three feet. The road edges would be wrapped with geosynthetic fabric to keep water from washing granular material back into a nearby wetland.

By doing so, a road 20 feet wide could be used for one traffic lane. Stop signs would need to be added to each end of the one-lane road, plus more signs for safety. The temporary fix would cost about $85,000. There could be flow outs at the fabric seams, due to wear and tear.

In addition, Greenwood said a plan would need to be drawn up and signed by a licensed engineer.

Luepke said barriers to hold the temporary road in place could be installed by Mathiowetz for about $20 a foot.

Greenwood said a temporary road may work for a year or two but the proposal does not meet any adopted state aid rules for state aid roads, which the county uses as guidelines. He voiced concern about rollovers and snow removal on the temporary road and that law enforcement does not have the manpower to monitor a one-lane construction area.

Luepke said a 20-foot wide temporary raised road could be used for a two-lane road. Green said that was not wide enough to meet safe road standards. In addition, he said the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would have to evaluate the temporary road project.

Luepke said there is about seven inches of water over the road at the highest spot now and there was up to three feet of water over the road earlier this summer.

Greenwood said Mathiowetz Construction is very busy now and would not be available to build a temporary road until November.

In addition, Greenwood said the County Highway 12 detour creates 1.7 to 4.3 extra miles, increasing EMS (Emergency Medical Services) response times by 2.5 to 6.4 minutes at 40 mph and 2 to 5.2 minutes at 50 mph.

Greenwood said he would evaluate detour routes after County Highway 12 re-opens to determine if Courtland Township should be compensated for damage or excessive wear and tear to their roads due to detour traffic. He said Courtland Township should post weight limits on detour routes to keep truck traffic off the roads and minimize damage.

In addition, Greenwood said a draft detour plan have been completed that will be implemented this fall s water remains on County Highway 12.

Commissioners approved:

• By a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Stenson dissenting, a preliminary 2019 property tax levy of $21,943,934 (3.79%) increase and setting a budget and levy public comment meeting to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Nicollet County Board Room.

• Heard Henry Martens, Bernadotte Township, express concerns about tiling on his property, access to the ditch system and excessive flooding on his land. He asked commissioners to come look at his property and determine a fix so he doesn’t lose crop land acres again next year.

• Entering into a lease agreement with Enterprise Fleet Management to lease patrol vehicles in 2019. Sheriff Lange said this will allow the sheriff’s office to maintain lower mileage patrol vehicles and should keep vehicle replacement costs more consistent. In addition, he said it should decrease vehicle repairs and maintenance costs.