Why it’s so hard to get roads back open

To the editor:

Patience is running thin on the road closures of Co. Rd. 1 and Co. Rd. 12 as well as the load limits on Co. Rd. 14. My patience is also running thin. The staff at Nicollet County are also frustrated.

I would like to share some of the impediments of getting Co. Rd. 1 open as that is the simple issue. We applied to Federal Highway as the State will not help us financially if we don’t. Looking back we maybe should have paid the whole bill but we usually try to get state and federal money because over half our budget comes from these sources. I certainly don’t want my county taxes to double.

The following list may not be complete but we needed approval from: Federal Highway, MNDOT, State Endangered Species, Federal Endangered Species, Indian Tribes of MN, State Historical Review, State Environmental and Cultural Review, Army Corp of Engineers Wetland Review. Most of these approvals would be needed even if the county had paid the entire bill.

The final plan has been submitted for Co. Rd. 1 to MNDOT and Federal Highway. They indicated we should be able to request bids in late August. If there are no hiccups we should be able to award a contract about Sept. 10. The state and federal agencies do prioritize high volume roads in the approval process. This hurts our rural roads. Co. Rd. 12 and 14 are more complex and even slower.

On another subject, Nicollet County spends around $30,000 on weed control chemicals. The county is restricted in the chemicals it can use and has to avoid susceptible vegetation. Thistles are easy to miss. If you see thistles in the right away, please get an accurate location and call Mike Suska at 507-934-7725. He will have it mowed or sprayed when our workers are in the area.

For questions about other weeds or county ditches, they can be reported to Nate Henry at 507-934-7731.

Sorry about the slow service, however, most of the difficulties are not of local origin.

John Luepke

Nicollet County Commissioner, District 5