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July 5, 2020

6/25/2020 2:37:00 PM
County Board hears update on infrastructure progress, Olinda Trail; 43-year public works staffer to retire

Chisago County Engineer Joe Triplett gave the County Board an update on a number of road projects last week, speaking by phone in the still-somewhat restricted meeting format.

Triplett says the Olinda Trail reconstruction is going to see its first lift of bituminous all the way through by July 4.  The project, from the Chisago Lakes High School south to Washington County is paved over four miles so far.  Responding to dust complaints, Triplett said the contractor is watering three times daily.  This week the part from 288th to #23 will be done.

The Highway 8 roundabout in Center City will be done by July 2. Crews are wrapping up the slopes, striping and pavement currently.   But, access to the north, to the Public Safety Center and Smith Metals, will require more work and it’s not planned to open that to traffic by July 2.

Outside of North Branch, one half of the Hwy. 95-Hemingway roundabout is done.   Triplett expected last week the route will be re-opened soon.

The Engineer alerted the commissioners to an erosion issue at Ditch 9 and said the possibility of bringing that piece of parcel into the adjacent park is being looked at.  

The railroad has also expressed it is close to doing a project to correct issues with Ditch 14, which Triplett said has presented problems for decades.

The state legislature and its inaction (as of the Board meeting) on a bonding bill leaves the Highway 8 funding request in limbo. The county is working on obtaining funds from federal and state transportation monies.  It asked for state help pay for improvements to the state highway, originally requesting $50 million, which has been dropped to $25 million in early versions of the early bonding plan.

Looking at a completely different mode of transportation the County Board was advised the bridge for the Swedish Immigrant Regional Trail project near Taylors Falls City Hall, is due to be delivered in August, improving the chances for that trail portion to open by this fall.

*** The Engineer also invited everybody who has worked with the department or other current staff, to an upcoming  reception at the Center City Highway Shop, honoring Cindy Johnson, who is retiring after 43 years in Public Works Finance.  Call the department for details.

Her post has been filled with an experienced  Faribault County hiree who has been on-board learning about Chisago County’s operations with Johnson.

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