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Board discusses temporary road

SLAYTON -- The Murray County Commissioners listened to the concerns of Lakeview Drive resident Orville Kenowith Tuesday morning, as he requested a temporary road be totally removed as soon as construction allows.

SLAYTON -- The Murray County Commissioners listened to the concerns of Lakeview Drive resident Orville Kenowith Tuesday morning, as he requested a temporary road be totally removed as soon as construction allows.

Kenowith read aloud a letter that had been signed by 18 area residents, all of whom are concerned about the amount of traffic using the temporary road.

The road, located off Lakeview Drive and 186th Street along Lake Shetek, was built by the county to reroute traffic during a culvert construction project that has closed off one of the dikes on Valhalla Road. Although the road had been in place for several years, it was primarily used as a private drive in an agreement between two landowners, one of which was landlocked.

Murray County Attorney Paul Malone said a contract between the landowners and the county to allow the road to be used during construction would be final once construction was complete.

"The easement is just for the time of construction," emphasized Murray County Highway Department Engineer Randy Groves. "By no means is this a permanent road. That is not the intent, and it is not how (the contract) is written."

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The road in question is currently the only way for people to get on and off Keeley Island, which has increased traffic dramatically, but Kenowith said it is also being used by golf carts to access the driving range. Kenowith again stressed he wanted to make sure the road would not be for public use after construction.

Malone agreed the road would cease to be public once construction was complete, when county liability would end.

"But the landowner can choose to let people use it," Groves added.

When the county uses private land in such situations, Groves said, the landowners generally decide whether the gravel stays in place after the road isn't needed by the county or township any longer. The landowner using the lane to gain access to the land can choose to leave it there or move the gravel to where he or she wants it.

Kenowith seemed less than pleased to know the road could still be used after construction ends, but the commissioners suggested he speak with the landowners involved, which he agreed to do.

In other business:

- The commissioners chose to reject both bids received for the crushing of 25,000 yards of gravel because of the high figures, which they attributed to fuel costs.

"I'm absolutely shocked," Groves said as he looked at the bids for more than $75,000. "We paid about $35,000 two years ago."

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Inflated prices, Groves said, are indicative of what has been happening to many construction costs this summer.

The job will be let out for bids again in late winter or early spring.

- End-O-Line Park Director Louise Gervais presented the commissioners with season totals for visitors to the park, which boosted last year's totals by at least 100 with several tours still scheduled.

Gervais said she had been invited to speak at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., in April 2007 at the Center for Western Studies by a professor who was impressed with the park and what Murray County had accomplished.

"It is quite an honor," she said.

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