April 29, 2010 at 8:47 a.m.

North Branch bridge ramp is closing for several days, new council member sworn in and wastewater team honored

North Branch bridge ramp is closing for several days, new council member sworn in and wastewater team honored
North Branch bridge ramp is closing for several days, new council member sworn in and wastewater team honored

The southwest ramp at the North Branch Highway 95 and 35 bridge is going to be closed for five days. City Engineer Julie Dresel said the retaining wall work in that quadrant requires closing the ramp. The closure is from May 3 to 8. Watch for detour signage.

The bridge project is going well, Dresel added. Rainy weather created some muddy conditions but she complimented the contractor who had responded quickly to the need to groom the surface. A committee of local businesspeople and others is probably going to install a billboard south on I-35 informing people that "North Branch is open for business" Dresel continued. The project funding includes "mitigation money" which is designated for marketing and keeping people informed during a major reconstruction like the bridge project.

New city council person John Philipsen attended his first meeting. He was sworn-in by City Administrator Bridgitte Konrad. He was appointed by council to the Holmes' vacancy.

During public comment three people spoke, two about issues with gravel roads and excessive traffic on a paved route where people are avoiding gravel roads. Also Max Malmquist addressed the city's stormwater management fee, which he said is not applied fairly. He said seven of his 10 parcels are wetland and are not contributing to any issues with stormwater run-off but rather are helping take care of stormwater and providing drainage. He also said because of the way his parcels are delineated he is being charged for 10 units of the $58.80 fee while a neighbor who owns as much land in total is being charged one unit.

Staff said they'd look into his information and report back to council.

The city also anticipates some movement on the demolition of the county's old nursing home structure, south of town at Lucht's Crossing. The development agreement with the new landowner is amended to allow for designated expenditures of a letter of credit, which also could free-up funding to do demo or at least "secure" the building, Konrad reported. Asbestos removal by the developer has been started at the abandoned site, she added.


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