Talks are in the works regarding how best to improve four area roads that are part of multiple jurisdictions.
The Pequot Lakes City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 1, heard a presentation from Tad Erickson, of the Region Five Development Commission, regarding a cooperative road project that includes Akerson, Nelson, Wild Acres and Buschmann roads. Portions of each are in multiple jurisdictions, including Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point, and Ideal and Jenkins townships as follows:
Pequot Lakes: Akerson, Nelson, Wild Acres.
Breezy Point: Buschmann.
Ideal Township: Wild Acres, Nelson and Buschmann.
Jenkins Township: Wild Acres.
For several years, each jurisdiction has discussed various issues associated with this network of roads, including high traffic volumes, high traffic speeds, heavy agricultural use, steep grades, blind approaches, deteriorating structural and surface conditions, and safety concerns due to alignment, size and increased usage, according to the presentation.
Other issues are ongoing maintenance costs and increased use of this road network that connects County Roads 16 and 112 in the west to County Road 11 in the east.
Discussions have been held regarding what it would take to bring this network of roads up to state aid standards so Crow Wing County could possibly take them over.
An ad hoc group of representatives from each community consisting of city and township staff along with township elected leaders began to discuss potential solutions for this network of roads, including the development of this request for proposals for an engineering firm to conduct a study along the entire road network corridor that would provide estimates of costs and alignment options for each jurisdiction respectively.
Representatives of each jurisdiction briefly spoke to the council. Mike Dubay, Jenkins Township chair, summed up feelings that all agree work needs to be done on the roads’ deteriorating conditions. Not just one entity can do the work, and they hope to move forward cooperatively, he said.
Tim Bray, Crow Wing County highway engineer, told the council he’s been hearing about this road corridor since his first day on the job in 2009.
Bray said he was supporting the local effort to improve these roadways, but was not necessarily advocating that the county take over the roads, and he wouldn't recommend that unless they were up to standards.
No decisions were made Sept. 1, but the council can consider the idea of developing a request for proposal, selecting a firm to conduct a corridor study, funding the engineering study and funding the project itself.
The council discussed the information with city engineer Tim Houle, from Widseth engineering firm, Public Works Supervisor Jason Gorr and Bray, including the possible extent of county involvement.
Breezy Point City Administrator Patrick Wussow said his city planned to ask Pequot Lakes to work together with other jurisdictions on this project, ultimately turning the roads over to county control.
Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.