Monday, April 22nd, 2024 Church Directory

Rainy Weather Not A Factor For Road Projects

Constant and often heavy rain this spring that has caused flooding in some parts of Sherburne County hasn’t delayed county road projects.

“The weather is not holding us up,” says Sherburne County Public Works Director John Menter.
 
The county has a very busy construction schedule in 2014, including overlay projects on County Roads  24, 4, 6 11, 16, 24, 35, 48, 50 and 73.
 
“We’ve got a heck of a list this year,” says Menter.
 
But none of those projects are likely to be affected by flooding because none of the construction takes place in ditches along the roads.
 
“When we do a reclaim and overlay, all we’re doing is grinding up the surface, putting it back down and paving over it,” says Menter. “We do very little on the side slopes and back slopes or in the ditch.”
 
One big project is the overlay on Co. Rd. 11 between Hwy. 10 and Co. Rd. 24. The section near Hwy. 10 has been overlaid. The northern portion is on hold, but not because of weather.
 
“They’ve got a nice solid base down and they’re going to start paving in a couple of weeks,” says Menter. “It’s not the weather. It’s the contractor’s ability to get a paving crew back here.”
 
That might be an issue throughout the summer, since the whole list of overlays was bid as one project.
 
The contractor determines the sequence of which project happens next.
 
One project that might have been delayed by rain was the reconstruction of Co. Rd. 15. But other factors led to its delay.
 
“First we were concerned that the state was taking too long reviewing our plans,” says Menter. “We finally got approval from state aid to do the project. We bid the project and now we’re waiting for the contractors to get approval for all their paperwork that the state requires.”
 
Since the project is more than just an overlay, Menter says an early start might have resulted in weather-related delays.
 
“They (the state) may have done us a favor because if we had opened up Co. Rd. 15 for the reconstruction, we would have a real mess,” says Menter. “But because of the delay, we haven’t started yet.”
 
Another project underway is not a county project, but a collaboration between Sherburne County, the City of Big Lake and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) on Co. Rd. 43.
 
The county started the road construction project two years ago and finished their portion in 2013.
 
As part of the project, the city wanted to establish a quiet zone at the railroad crossing near the NorthStar station. 
 
“As part of that quiet zone they needed to add concrete around the tracks and install some raised medians to prevent anybody from being able to drive around the signal arms,” says Menter. 
 
The city finally got approval this year. In early June, BNSF put up detour signs while the concrete was added in the track area. The detour signs were put aside and the road opened last week, even though the project isn’t complete yet.
 
But it isn’t because of the weather. BNSF is in the process of re-positioning the railroad crossing signals to accommodate the medians. Motorists will likely see detour signs again when the signals are in place and BNSF is ready for the concrete medians to be installed.