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Bid awarded for trail project

WORTHINGTON -- R&G Construction, Marshall, was awarded a contract Tuesday to do the work on the proposed Nobles County trail system along County State Aid Highway 35 and Crailsheim Drive.

The firm will also construct curb and gutter on the west end of Oxford Street in a project it bid at more than $2.7 million. R&G is the same construction company doing the work on the Minnesota 60 expansion project in Worthington.

During Tuesday morning's meeting of the Nobles County Board of Commissioners, Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder said the winning bid by R&G was approximately 6 percent higher than the engineer's estimate on the project. Two other bids were received, both more than $3 million.

"This (engineer's) estimate was put together six or seven months ago," Schnieder explained. "Times have changed in the construction industry."

He said one contractor experienced a 23 percent increase in the cost for bituminous paving materials just since the first of the year.

The county will receive between $75,000 and $80,000 in federal aid for the trail project paving and culvert work on Whiskey Ditch by Diagonal Road.

The entire project will include the excavation of fill from the water retention pond being constructed on the Minnesota West Community and Technical College campus, installation of curb and gutter extending west on Oxford Street to the intersection with Crailsheim Drive, the revamping of the drainage system and the addition of turning lanes at CSAH 35 and Crailsheim Drive.

"Hopefully the visualness of this will slow people down a bit," Schnieder said.

Last year, the board authorized the purchase of flashing lights at the intersection, and Schnieder said the lights won't be installed until the road work is completed.

"It will look a lot different when we're done," he added. "When we get the trail project completed, there will be a vast improvement to that side of Worthington."

In other action, the board:

* Accepted a proposal from Engineering Design Initiative for energy efficiency improvements for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system at Prairie Justice Center. The total cost of the improvements is $65,000.

* Awarded bids for several building improvement projects. Thompson Electrical, Sioux Falls, S.D., was awarded the bid for electrical upgrades to Prairie Justice Center totaling $170,000; Jones Caulking and Tuck-pointing of Sioux Falls, S.D., presented the low bid of $118,500 for masonry restoration at the Nobles County Government Center; and Clair Van Grouw Construction was awarded the low bid of $45,900 for partial window replacements in the Government Center.

* Approved the following appropriations as outlined in the 2012 county budget: $8,000 to Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. for its third-quarter appropriation; $2,500 to Manna Food Pantry for its annual appropriation; $1,000 to Civil Air Patrol for its annual appropriation; $1,000 to Travel Southwest for its annual appropriation; $6,247.25 to Nobles County Historical Society for its second-quarter appropriation; and $10,432 to the Nobles County Fair for its first-half appropriation.

* Approved conditional use permits upon recommendation of the Nobles County Planning Commission for Reker Construction, Adrian, applicant for Ronald Wiertzema, landowner, for operation of a gravel pit in the northwest corner of the northwest quarter of Section 25, Little Rock Township; for Reker Construction, applicant for Shellie Lynn, landowner, for gravel excavation and stockpiling in the northwest quarter of Section 14, Westside Township; and for Duininck Inc., Prinsburg, applicant for Robin Hamilton, landowner, to operate a hot mix plant across the road from Midway Park.

* Approved the replacement of nine computers in the county attorney's office by early 2013. The replacements are needed because new software to be installed next spring will not work on the existing computers. The money is available in the department's budget.

* Received an annual update from the Southwest Initiative Foundation and a request for a $6,410 contribution (30 cents per capita) from Nobles County in 2013. The board will take the request under advisement.

* Was introduced to Justin Stevenson, the new administrative secretary at the Nobles County Library in Worthington. Stevenson worked with the community's AmeriCorps Vista program for the past year.

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

(507) 376-7330