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State to turn back former MN 60 stretch south of Worthington

A section of old Minnesota 60 will be transferred from the Minnesota Department of Transportation to Nobles County for ongoing maintenance. The county plans to reconfigure the roadway eventually, after it monitors usage and speed issues. Brian Korthals/Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — With the Minnesota 60 four-lane expansion project around the city of Worthington virtually complete, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is now interested in turning back more than half a mile of the old highway on the city’s south side to Nobles County.

Stephen Schnieder, director of Nobles County Public Works, reported Tuesday that MnDOT is offering nearly $875,000 to the county to take over maintenance of the old Minnesota 60 stretching from Nobles County State Aid Highway 57 east to near the old Scholtes Auto Body shop.

The western stretch of the former highway, from CSAH 57 to Flower Lane, will become a municipal state aid street.

As part of the agreement, Nobles County will also assume maintenance of the .16-mile frontage road MnDOT constructed from Schaap Sanitation to Worthington Tractor Parts. No additional funding will be offered for that turnback, as it is new and doesn’t require any work.

“The Department of Transportation doesn’t maintain frontage roads,” Schnieder told Nobles County Commissioners during their board meeting Tuesday. “They have to turn that back to the next level of government, which is the county.”

The nearly $875,000 from MnDOT will be paid to the county as a cash settlement, and Schnieder said those funds will be used on planned highway improvement projects. The funds are based on a per-mile construction cost of $1.9 million ($700,000 to the county for .37 mile that wasn’t previously designated as a county state aid highway), along with $175,000 in engineering costs.

Meanwhile, the highway department will monitor usage and speed on the old Minnesota 60 four-lane and develop a plan for its eventual reconfiguration. When the road is redone, Schnieder said it will use state aid money for the project.

At this point, Schnieder said he envisions adding in a curve and placing a stop sign on old Minnesota 60 for traffic coming from the direction of Flower Lane.

Commissioners accepted the agreement with MnDOT on a 5-0 vote.

In other action, the board:

  • Approved a resolution of support for a Minnesota House file to repeal the certification set a year ago regarding Accredited Minnesota Assessor requirements.
  • Approved a Medical Reserve Corps grant agreement for the Nobles County Community Services department. The $3,500 grant will be used to conduct a training drill in early April, during which sixth-graders who need the mandated vaccinations prior to seventh grade — for TDAP, meningitis and chicken pox — will be vaccinated at no cost. Minnesota Department of Health will provide the vaccine for free if it is administered as a training exercise for Medical Reserve Corps members. It is estimated that 250 students in Nobles County will take advantage of the free vaccinations.
  • Approved the purchase of 15 burial plots in the Worthington Cemetery for county-funded burials for individuals who don’t have money to cover the costs. By purchasing 15, the county can save approximately $3,000. The plots will cost $225 each. The county also has plots at Memorial Gardens, although there are nearly a dozen of those available. Families are given a choice of which cemetery to use.

Nobles County Community Services Director Stacie Golombiecki said there have been six county-funded burials already in the first two months of 2014.

  • Approved a conditional use permit for Ryan Henning, Adrian, to operate a gravel pit in the east half of the southwest quarter of Section 24, Little Rock Township. Conditions placed on the request include that the permit be good for six years, with a three-year review; that the applicant control noxious weeds on the site and that dust control measures be implemented.
  • Approved the advertisement for bids for pavement marking services. As in recent years, Nobles County will combine its request with those from the city of Worthington and the counties of Jackson, Rock and Cottonwood to create one large project that is more appealing for bidders. Bid opening is scheduled for April 14.
  • Received an update from Schnieder on the E911 signs to be erected in rural Nobles County this summer. The posts are already on hand, the signs are being manufactured and Schnieder has talked with a couple of contractors who are interested in submitting a bid for the sign installations. These signs will be posted at each rural address. Residents of unincorporated communities will be asked to place numbers on their house to identify their address, or the county will place the numbered sign in their front yard.
  • Authorized the extension of a contract with Trusight, which is conducting the classification and compensation study in Nobles County. The contract will extend from its original March 31 deadline to May 31.
  • Approved a $1,500 silver-level sponsorship for the Regional Bio-Science Conference in Worthington on April 3-4. The contribution was not in the county’s budget, and it was suggested it appropriate dollars within the budget for the program in the future.
  • Approved the following citizen appointments to various county committees: Troy Wietzema (new), Worthington Township, and Duane Schmitz (reappointment), Lorain Township, to the Joint Planning Commission; Linda Hill (reappointment), Worthington, to the Personnel Board of Appeals; the reappointments of Michael Hoeft, Reading, Gerald Erstad, Worthington, Steve Brake, Wilmont and Larry Boots, Worthington, to the Planning Advisory Commission; and appointed Duane Schmitz, Brewster, to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
  • Recognized Janel Ewert with a certificate of appreciation for her 19-plus years with Nobles County Community Services. A social worker for the agency, Ewert is retiring March 31.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at The Farm Bleat

(507) 376-7330