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Cass County, Leech Lake Reservation to share road costs

CASS LAKE – Cass County and Leech Lake Reservation will split the cost for two road improvements and a recreational trail.

County Engineer David Enblom told Cass County commissioners at their regular meeting Tuesday night, held at Cass Lake City Hall, that Art Chase, Leech Lake Band highway department representative, has been very helpful to expedite tribal council approval for the joint projects.

The cooperative projects will include grinding old pavement, re-grading and new gravel base before repaving one mile of County Road 126 at Sugar Point on Leech Lake and placing a new gravel base and paving County Road 126, running south from Highway 200 in Kego township north of Longville.

The estimated cost for the improvements is $350,000 for County Road 136 and $300,000 for County Road 126.

The trail project will be put on a county priority list for funding at an estimated $125,000 cost. It not only would serve as a hiking and biking trail, but also a sidewalk for pedestrians walking along County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 75 (Bingo Palace Road).

Enblom said several pedestrians have been struck by motor vehicles while walking along the road shoulder of that road. The trail would run in the highway right of way and move pedestrians away from the road driving surface, he said.

That project is tentatively scheduled for completion in 2013.

The board approved using $145,278.60 of state bridge bonding money in a cooperative agreement with Minnesota Department of Transportation to replace large culverts on CSAH 17 where it crosses Mayo Creek in southern Cass. Total cost for that project is estimated to run $492,123.42.

The board authorized Enblom to use county highway funds this year to construct a project on CSAH 8 this year, with the understanding federal funds will reimburse the county in 2013. Of the total estimated $1,028,432.71 cost for that road rebuilding project, $800,000 is expected to come from federal funds.

The commissioners also approved a minimum $304,500 local match to get $745,500 federal grant to rebuild the portion of CSAH 1 between County Road 107 and CSAH 29 in the 2016 federal funding cycle.

Ottertail Peninsula officials asked the county board for information about how to eliminate invasive wild parsnip and Canadian thistle plants from a mile of road in that township.

Wild parsnip is a plant that causes severe reactions similar to, but much worse than poison ivy or oak. It causes severe blistering and burning of the skin.

Reno Wells, a Turtle Lake Township officer, said their township has found the most successful eradication has come by pulling the plants out of the ground.

Enblom said he is trying intensive mowing on County State Aid Highway 13 (Onigum Road) this summer, but has used herbicide spraying in other areas. He and Environmental Services Director John Ringle offered further options and informational folders.