$18.5 million in county highway work set for next five years with federal help

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Swift County has nearly $18.5 million in roadwork planned for the next five years with one project set for next year accounting for one-third of that cost.

Swift County Highway Engineer Andy Sander presented the county board of commissioners with a five-year highway plan at their meeting Nov. 1.

The big project for 2017 is Swift County Highway 6 from Minnesota Highway 29 to Kerkhoven, which is just over 13 miles. It is a $6.8 million project with $4.5 million coming from state aid, $2.1 million from federal funds and $200,000 from municipal aid.

The roadway will be paved with concrete. Once it is paved, there will be no traffic on Swift County Road 6 for seven days as strength tests are conducted on the roadway, Sander said.

Swift County Board Chairman Pete Peterson, District 3-south Benson, told Sander that he had one concern about the Swift County Road 6 project that he was adamant about. “Any culverts running under the road, any drainage issues that should be corrected, should be corrected before we do this,” he said. “With this much money in this span it would be unforgiveable for us to do this if later on something on drainage had been overlooked.”

As part of the project, Sander said that the highway department has been looking into those concerns....

Maintaining township roads as vehicle weight increases

As the county increases the load carrying capacity of its roads people are coming off of township roads that may not be getting improvements to take the added weight, Commissioner Eric Rudningen, District 5-Kerkhoven, said.

“What can we do to help townships?” he asked. “Is there anything we can do to help them as we build roads up? Maybe that is a loaded question. But certainly we are concerned about that as well. I don’t think it is a reason not to build heavy roads.”

Due to advances in crop genetics that make them more drought resistant, more pest resistant, and more productive in yield, the weight trucks are carrying is increasing.  “Over the years, and it is continuing, farmers are getting bigger and bigger hauling units,” Sander said.

Sander said he couldn’t help the townships with their roads. “We all have our own taxing authority,” he said. Addressing the weight of vehicles on township roads and issuing permits for over-weight trucks is also the township’s authority, Sander said....


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