Archeologist sought to study County Road 77

LONGVILLE - Cass County commissioners approved an agreement Tuesday with Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to hire an archeologist to study the County State Aid Highway (CSHA) 77 area before road reconstruction there.

LONGVILLE - Cass County commissioners approved an agreement Tuesday with Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to hire an archeologist to study the County State Aid Highway (CSHA) 77 area before road reconstruction there.

Florin Cultural Resource Services will conduct the study at a cost up to $96,964. MnDOT will pay 80 percent of the cost, with the county paying 20 percent.

The study will identify any sites that are potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places within the highway corridor.

The commissioners approved installing four-way stop traffic control at the intersection of CSAH 1 and CSAH 44 east of Pine River. The intersection has a history of accidents, County Engineer David Enblom said.

A 2006 study recommended a list of measures to improve safety there. Enblom said the county has implemented most of the items on that list, but accidents still have occurred there.


The final step will be converting from a two-way to a four-way stop control. This will include advance warning lights in addition to the stop signs at the intersection, he said.

The county board added rumble strips in the pavement ahead of the intersection. Those previously used at that intersection had been eliminated when the roads were overlayed with new pavement.

Commissioner Bob Kangas said there have been at least three deaths at the intersection in recent years.

Laura Hadrava, highway department design/construction engineer, presented a report to the board showing how the county's contribution to road construction funding has kept Cass from falling behind in its effort to keep paved roads in smooth driving condition.

Without the current county money, state aid funds are not sufficient to keep pace and would result in the county having a higher percentage of poor pavement, she said.

Cass has about 53 percent of good and excellent road surfaces, according to a MnDOT survey of the roads. There are about 20 percent in fair condition and 27 percent in poor or very poor condition.

At the present funding rate, Enblom said the county can afford to program for resurfacing the 27 percent in poor or very poor condition. Without the county money, that would not be possible.

While some counties in neighboring states have taken their paved roads back to gravel when funding ran low, Enblom said that might not be a good option here because the supply of readily available gravel is disappearing.


Chloride treatment on Cass's existing gravel roads has improved road surface on those roads, but new gravel overlays to keep good gravel roads depends on the availability of gravel supply, he noted.

MnDOT overlays its paved roads about every 14 years, while the county resurfaces paved roads about every 27 years, Enblom said.

The board voted to add used cutting edges (old grader blades) to the list of items the county sells on a regular basis. A market has been identified for the used metal, Enblom said. Used edges will be available for sale at $1.80 per foot.

The highway department rates for other items it sells include 65 cents per cubic yard for borrow pit material (sand/clay), 75 cents per cubic yard for gravel material and $1 per cubic yard for rock. Charge for a 32-foot culvert with one band is $350.

The highway department also sells 911 address signs for $20 each, plus $5 for the post and $5 postage and handling. They sell mail boxes compliant with highway regulations and a support, installed, for $80. A support sold separately is $35. A county-installed support sold separately is $70.

Enblom obtained board approval to spend up to $5,000 from the unorganized township road fund to improve the former County Road 140 where it intersects with a Bena city street.

Doug Carpenter approached the board at the last regular meeting to ask for a driveway access onto the town road and for road improvements, which would enable him to move a larger trailer on the road and onto his driveway.

Enblom said he helped Carpenter fill out a driveway access application, which he expects to approve. He also said improving the road and intersection will benefit other neighbors in the area. Gravel will be added and the road reshaped, he said.


The board also voted to designate a short section of the road beyond residences and a resort as a minimum maintenance road for the future, since it has not been maintained in winter and is less used.

That short section will be dropped from the unorganized town road mileage total, meaning it no longer will qualify to receive gas tax funding, which has run about $38 per year.

Enblom said Carpenter seemed satisfied with the improvement plan when he met with him since the last board meeting.

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