Cass County Board: Commissioners approve contracts for highway department projects

BACKUS--County Engineer David Enblom obtained Cass County Board approval Tuesday to award contracts to low bidders for a new county highway garage at Pine River and additions to the county garages at Pillager and Hackensack.

BACKUS-County Engineer David Enblom obtained Cass County Board approval Tuesday to award contracts to low bidders for a new county highway garage at Pine River and additions to the county garages at Pillager and Hackensack.

Total cost for the new Pine River garage will be $544,905. Total cost for the two additions will be $427,380.

HyTec Construction of Brainerd won the contract to construct the buildings and cement slabs base for the two garage additions at $163,000. RW Electric of Walker won the electrical bid at $8,662. Ike's Heating and Cooling will provide the heating/cooling system for $6,511.76.

Srock of Alexandria won the contract to construct the Pine River garage for $252,460. That firm recently finished building a new highway garage for the county at Cass Lake.

Other contractors for the Pine River project will be Danny's Masonry of Akeley for the cement slab, $66,085; RW Electric for electrical work, $22,020; and Ike's Heating and Cooling, heating/cooling system, $86,815.


The county asked for base bids for an 80-foot-by-60-foot building and an alternate for a 100-foot-by-60-foot building, which would be comparable to the county's other garages, plus the additions that are being made to the Hackensack and Pillager buildings now.

Enblom said it appeared the county could save 10 percent by building a larger building now at Pine River. The board chose that option.

He said, based on the first winter of use for the county's new garage built in 2015 at Cass Lake, operating costs for the new building are much lower than for the old garage that it replaced.

Additionally, Enblom said the fact the county will be able to keep all its equipment inside at each new garage will keep the equipment in better condition and give the county a better trade-in value when it buys new equipment.

The county has looked into building a shared garage with Minnesota Department of Transportation at Pine River and at Remer, but Enblom said it appears doing so would cost the county two to three times as much as if the county continues to build its own garages separately.

Bids the county accepted Tuesday for Pine River show the county can build its own building for about $400,000, while estimates for the county to add onto MnDOT's garage at Remer would run $1,000,000.

Enblom plans to sell the old county highway garage at Pine River, but he said he does not expect the county will receive a high price for it, because it needs both a new well and septic sewer system.

Cass County has been contracting Mark Beard the last few years to oversee the county's interests in planning, design and construction of building projects. Enblom said Beard's cost per highway garage is running about $15,000 to $20,000 per project.


The county renewed its contract with Beard through April 2017, adding a provision that the county will pay up to $50,000 for his liability insurance. He is paid $50 per hour, but receives no additional business expenses or other compensation. Beard uses his own car.

The county board approved an agreement with MnDOT to move the county's state aid payment to resurface County State Aid Highway 75 from 2017 to 2016. Federal funds will reimburse this project cost in 2017.

Leech Lake Reservation will contribute $370,000 toward this paving project.

CSAH 75 runs from Highway 2 to the Beltrami County line, running past the Bingo Palace and Casino and the Leech Lake Tribal College west of Cass Lake.

The county had lowered, at the request of people in that area, the speed limit on CSAH 75, but Enblom said Tuesday he has learned the county no longer has authority to set speed limits for rural residential roads. The law changed in 2009.

The county board called Tuesday for a new MnDOT analysis of speed limits for CSAH 75.

Enblom said this legislative change could impact other rural residential roads in the county where speed limits had been set since 2009. He said he is unsure how many roads might be impacted.

Cities and township still retain their right to set speed limits, along with MnDOT.

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