Cass County Board gains from lower gas prices

WALKER--Lower oil prices this year means Cass County's major state aid road paving package will run $1 million less than it would have cost last year.

WALKER-Lower oil prices this year means Cass County's major state aid road paving package will run $1 million less than it would have cost last year.

County Engineer David Enblom told the county board bituminous mix for asphalt roads cost $60 per ton last year. Bids the county awarded Tuesday figured bituminous mix at $44 per ton. The county board awarded the primary paving contract to Central Specialties Inc. for $5,228,438.17. Engineering estimates based on last year's prices anticipated $6,291,519.90. Four other contractors also bid the projects. All were at least $200,000 under $6 million.

Roads to be paved under this contract include a portion of County State Aid Highway 1 in Homebrook Township, CSAH 24, 78, 29, portions of County Roads 116 and 117 and installing additional paving at the county transfer station north of Pine River.

The board also accepted a low bid Tuesday from Tri-City Paving Inc. to pave a portion of CSAH 18 and correct a sag in CSAH 1 by Pillager Lake. Cost will be $420,004.98.

Enblom said he will contact townships in the south-central area of the county to see whether any might be interested in paving any of their roads at the lower rate the county received while paving work is taking place in that area of the county.


For the county, the lower price means the county will borrow $750,000 less state aid money this year against future year allocations, which, when design engineering is done, will mean more roads likely will be paved in three to four years than currently planned, Enblom said.

The highway department sold two 1999 New Holland backhoe loaders and trailers through an online auction for $37,235.91. Trade-in value offered on a new purchase was $23,600, Enblom reported.

The county board designated CSAH 75 (Bingo Palace Road) as a bike route, thereby making it eligible for the county to set the speed limit. The road runs from the Beltrami County line to Highway 2 west of Cass Lake.

Cass had lowered the speed limit due to heavy traffic traveling to and from the Leech Lake Reservation casino, plus a lot of pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Reservation officials requested the change.

Subsequent to changing the speed, the county learned state law had changed for rural residential roads, preventing the county from setting the speed-unless the road was also a bike route. Now that it is a bike route, the lower speed will remain in place.

Otherwise, the state would have determined the speed.

The board also passed a resolution asking the state legislature to amend state statutes that currently limit county control over speed on rural residential roads.

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