County bridge money to come from stateWORTHINGTON — Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday learned that there is remaining bridge bonding money in the state’s coffers, which will allow the county to move forward with its plans to replace a bridge on County State Aid Highway 11, northwest of Ellsworth.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday learned that there is remaining bridge bonding money in the state’s coffers, which will allow the county to move forward with its plans to replace a bridge on County State Aid Highway 11, northwest of Ellsworth.
Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder said the county could anticipate getting up to 50 percent of the costs for the bridge’s replacement covered by the bonding money. The estimated cost of replacing the structure and additional surface work is $415,000.
Schnieder said the process can now move forward, with the county to advertise for bids in December, followed by a bid opening and awarding of the contract in January. With those actions taken, the county would “lock up” the bonding money, he added. It would also mean the county doesn’t have to dip into a future allotment of bridge bonding money to complete the work.
Despite taking early action on the project, Schnieder told commissioners that it would not be possible to replace the existing bridge with a pre-cast concrete culvert until after Sept. 1, due to the Topeka shiner and tree swallow, both of which are classified as endangered species.
Commissioner David Benson said there is a lot of hardship for people because of the bridge’s closure, and it is being compounded with the late harvest.
Schnieder said that while construction will be delayed, once the work begins, it should only take about a week to install the precast concrete structure, instead of the three months it would take to construct a bridge.
“Precast concrete structures … have unlimited width, and people can get greater loads over the concrete structures without damaging them,” he added.
In other action, the board:
l Approved a conditional use permit for enXco to construct a switching station in the northeast quarter of Section 23, Summit Lake Township. The switching station is in addition to enXco’s 201 megawatt wind farm to be constructed in four townships of Nobles County.
l Discussed the possibility of charging fees for overweight and over-width vehicles that use the county’s road system. Schnieder said that neighboring Jackson and Murray counties both charge added fees for vehicles that are larger than the posted limit.
With a company planning to erect more than 130 wind turbines in Nobles County in 2010, followed by the potential for another 130-plus wind turbine project once that is complete, Schnieder said the county’s roads will be impacted. Charging a fee for those vehicles would help build up a fund for road maintenance.
“You’re looking at $130,000 to $200,000 in permitting fees for a project like (the wind farm),” Schnieder said.
Commissioners asked Schnieder to gather more details, along with specific fee options, and bring back to the county before the end of the year.
l Approved the final payment to Salonek Concrete & Construction for the third-floor remodeling project in the Nobles County Government Center. County Administrator Mel Ruppert reported the cost came in under budget. The original estimate was $153,426, and with the change orders, the final bill came to $150,617.
l Discussed a letter from the City of Rushmore regarding the reconstruction of Thompson Avenue. The city had questions about retaining diagonal parking on the roadway, as well as concern about the railroad tracks and elevator traffic.
Nobles County Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder estimated the reconstruction project at approximately $450,000. There would be an additional expense if the city wished to retain diagonal parking, because the width of the road would need to be increased. There is ample space for diagonal parking, Schnieder added.
The City of Rushmore is interested in having the road reconstructed in either 2010 or 2011. Commissioners will discuss the issue further during their next look at the county’s five-year road plan.
l Directed Elk Township to complete the work necessary on a bridge over Judicial Ditch #8, at the Jerry Perkins property. The matter was raised at a board meeting earlier this month, and there were questions from the township on who had authority to make the improvements.
Schnieder said on Tuesday that the township is authorized to work in the ditch system to repair erosion underneath the bridge. He also said the bridge is eligible for funding from the state. Commissioners urged Schnieder to provide a list to the township of possible contractors, as well as a description of the work that needs to be done.
l Discussed a proposal from Frank McDowell of New Vision Cooperative regarding interest in the War Memorial Building. New Vision’s board of directors was interested in potential purchase or lease of the building as office space for New Vision.
Commissioners were concerned that their timeline for possibly moving out of the building — at best a minimum of two years — did not meet the timeline New Vision was looking at for moving their offices.
“Our timelines aren’t going to match up, quite honestly,” said McDowell. “We really want to be in something a year from now … it doesn’t help our business to wait two or three years.”
l Approved a contract with Lambert’s Carpet Cleaning for cleaning services in the War Memorial Building and the Nobles County Public Works facility.
l Accepted the low bid from Greg Gruis for plowing snow from the parking lots in downtown Worthington at the library and the Nobles County Government Center, and approved a one-year contract for the services.
l Approved an extended, four-year contract with Mike’s Mini Excavating for snow removal at the Prairie Justice Center.
l Learned that the transportation committee will discontinue subsidizing the taxi service in Worthington. The committee offered the subsidy on Friday and Saturday nights to keep the taxi service available for patrons of the local bars to get a safe ride home. After a year, Commissioner Marv Zylstra said the program hadn’t been utilized as much as they had anticipated.
l Approved the appointment of Wallace Schultz to the Kanaranzi-Little Rock Watershed District.