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Cass sets striping, signage policies

BACKUS — Cass County Board adopted a policy Tuesday for county highway road striping and signage. Adopting a policy is a new federal requirement for local governments.

Cass’s lane striping on paved roads will follow recent practice: to re-stripe every year roads carrying 1,000 vehicles or more per day, every other year roads carrying 500 to 1,000 vehicles per day and every five years roads carrying less than 500 vehicles per day.

Signage will be provided only on paved roads, with some signs on gravel roads in exceptional circumstances, according to the new policy.

All new signs will have High Intensity Prismatic grade facing or higher. This high reflectivity is expected to last 10 years. All traffic signs in the county will carry that intensity level by 2015.

The county will maintain an inventory of sign size, type, reflective coating, location and date installed. All signs will be inspected after 10 years and replaced within six months thereafter. Random inspections to determine whether reflectivity has deteriorated enough to warrant replacement also will be made.

Missing or damaged signs will be replaced within one day of the highway department receiving notification if the sign affects traffic safety. If not vital to safety, it will be replaced within three business days or as soon as practical, depending upon the type of sign.

All sign maintenance operations will be subject to highway department budget and personnel constraints. Unauthorized signs will be removed from highway right of way. The policy is a performance goal, not a warrantee or guarantee of service level.

Enblom informed the board there is a device available to test a sign’s reflectivity. Because it costs $7,000, he recommended the county wait to purchase such a device until prices drop.

Cass has been in contact with the St. Paul office of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency concerning development of a memorandum or letter of understanding, which would improve communications between the county and state agency during road construction projects.

In 2011, regional MPCA officials refused to communicate with the county except by email concerning deficiencies they wanted the county to correct on a County State Aid Highway 1 paving project.

Because on-site communication was not allowed, Enblom said he was unable to make corrective action quickly enough to avoid penalties MPCA levied against the county for violations. If adopted, a new policy would allow on-site communication like MPCA has with MnDOT and could prevent future county penalties, he said.

The county board approved allowing the use of all terrain vehicles on County State Aid Highways 5 and 7 inside the city of Longville, which would be governed by a city of Longville ordinance. That ordinance also allows the use of golf carts inside the city.

The board approved paying a 25 percent share or $64,634.22 toward replacing the traffic semaphore at the intersection of state Highways 371 and 84 in the city of Pine River. The work is expected to be done this summer, Enblom said.

Cass will seek state bonding money to pay to replace a bridge on CSAH 1, about eight miles south of Pine River when the county re-paves that section of road in 2014.Enblom said the existing bridge is not rated to carry heavier logging trucks authorized to operate in winter.

The board voted to convert CSAH 37 west of Walker from state aid to a county road. That road carries about 30 vehicles per day. The conversion will free three-fourths of a mile of state aid road status, Which then can be applied to a revised route for the road proposed to service the Aw-Gwah-Ching site between Highways 371 and 34.