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New restrictions for Brewster bridge

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WORTHINGTON — Upon completion of its annual bridge safety inspection, Nobles County Public Works has placed new weight restrictions on a bridge north of Brewster on County State Aid Highway 1 spanning Jack Creek.

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The bridge posting now restricts straight trucks to a maximum weight of 16 tons, while semi trucks and straight trucks pulling trailers will be limited to no more than 28 tons.

Nobles County Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder told commissioners during their Tuesday meeting that this bridge had been posted at 40 ton previously, but the inspection showed “several deck planking that had been cracked.”

After changing the posted restrictions on the bridge last week, Schnieder said he’s already fielded some calls from people wondering which route to take instead. Vehicles transporting loads greater than what the bridge can handle are now asked to take CSAH 3 south to CSAH 14, which is a six-mile detour, while heavier loads are asked to travel to U.S. 59 and then to CSAH 14, which is a 12-mile detour.

“The worst section of our county has been that east side,” Schnieder said. “We’ve started picking away at some of these structures at least to get a route around that area.”

There are 27 bridges in Nobles County that are currently restricted, which is about 7 percent to 7.5 percent of the 360 bridges on the county and township road system, he said. Many of the identified bridges are on the County Road or the County State Aid Highway system, Schnieder added.

“They’re starting to create more problems for the public … to get around these,” he said.

As for the newly restricted bridge on CSAH 1, Schnieder said bridge design work will be done this winter so it’s ready for funding in 2014.

“The bad news is there is no funding at this point in 2014, unless the legislature approves more bonding for bridges,” Schnieder said. “If the state gives us more bonding for bridge replacements, we’ll have our application ready to send in. (The money is) always on a first-come, first-serve basis.”

The bridge restriction was an informational item on the county board agenda. In action Tuesday, the board:

- Approved 2014 ditch maintenance assessments, with additional funds to be sought for County Ditch 12 and 30. The assessments cover ongoing maintenance of the ditch systems.

- Approved interpreter contracts with Fanta Jaleta for Amharic and Oromo; Akon Bouavichitch for Lao; and Reyna Granados for Spanish interpreting services for Nobles County Human Services.

- Discussed the 2014 Legislative Platform for Nobles County. Administrator Tom Johnson said the county’s platform will be combined with the city of Worthington’s and Worthington School District 518. County issues to be identified for area legislators include transportation infrastructure, which includes a request for continued receipt of wind energy production tax; support for a biofuels mandate; simplification of the process for emergency management response; and a request that unfunded mandates not be handed down to counties.

- Received a report from Pat Demuth regarding the Nobles County Historical Society’s work in getting Worthington’s War Memorial Building and Chautauqua Park listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Demuth said it would be at least a year before the society applies for grants to continue the three-step process to get the sites approved for listing.

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Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at www.farmbleat.areavoices.com.
(507) 376-7330
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