Column: Goodhue County Public Works runs full throttle
There has been a lot of activity in the Goodhue County Public Works Department and I would like to bring everyone up to speed on projects we will be working on this summer.
Forward momentum is continuing on the U.S. 52/County Road 24 interchange in Cannon Falls. The preferred location for the new interchange south of both the existing traffic signals has been approved by all involved agencies. We can now begin work on a detailed design, determine the environmental impacts and, if no severe adverse environmental effects are found, then the next stage of this project will be developing a map that will show exactly where this new interchange will be built.
After official mapping, the final step is securing funds for purchasing right of way and actual construction.
Minnesota Department of Transportation is constructing a turning lane on U.S. 61 at Frontenac Station this summer. This project will include controlling the number of access points onto this very busy section of highway and will improve the interchange with County Road 2. MnDOT anticipates a July start.
County Road 9 will be resurfaced between County Road 7 and Sogn. This segment of 9 was last surfaced in the early 1990s.
The existing surface will be pulverized and covered with 4 inches of new asphalt. This is a process we have used on several roads over the past 15 or so years and with very good results. The reclaimed surface remains on the roadway where it was originally placed and after being reshaped, it is then recompacted and covered with a new asphalt surface. In doing this, we will greatly improve the ride and appearance of this 16-year-old surface.
This work will be done without road closure and will result in minimal inconvenience to the public.
County Road 30 between Highway 56 and County 1 also will be resurfaced. This portion of roadway was last surfaced in 1988 and will also be pulverized in place similar to the work being done on 9.
Unfortunately this roadway is much narrower than County 9 and therefore we are going to use a new procedure of injecting an asphalt emulsion into the reclaimed base on the western half of the project and placing a new two inch bituminous surface. The eastern half of the roadway will be similar to the County 9 project and will have a new four-inch bituminous surface placed over the reclaimed base.
Once complete, we will test both segments and compare their strength to see if it is cost effective to use this new process on our older roads that have very narrow shoulders but need to be resurfaced.
A final paving surface will be placed on County Road 1 in White Rock. This project will finish off this segment of road that was rebuilt last season. The shoulders will be surfaced as well.
Seal-coat operations are expected to start the second week of July and take approximately three weeks to complete. The seal coat consists of applying a liquid bituminous tack material to the surface of the roadway followed immediately by a layer of aggregate. The cover aggregate is very small in size and, after it binds to the existing surface of bituminous, it protects and preserves the actual paving materials on the road's surface (kind of like repainting wood siding on your house).
The following roads will be seal coated this summer:
County 1 from White Rock Bridge to County 51.
County 2 from County 9 to U.S. Highway 61 (including through Frontenac and Old Frontenac to 61)
County 9 from County 2 to the east county line (Wabasha County Road 15)
County 27 from Roscoe to Pine Island (within Goodhue County only)
County 28 in Frontenac State Park
County 47 from County 9 north for 1.75 miles.
County 58 from County 8 to Highway 19
Though Goodhue County does not have many gravel roads, they do require regular maintenance. We add new surfacing rock to these roads once every three year. This year we will place new aggregate rock on County Roads 17, 41, 44, 49 and 57.
Improvements to the Goodhue County Lake Byllesby Park continue to be a focus. We are working with trail groups to create a connection from the Cannon Valley Trail to the Mill Towns Trail system in Faribault, Minn. Once complete, there will be a continuous bike trail from Red Wing through Faribault and all the way to Mankato.
The Legislature appropriate $500,000 for this project. We have applied for two grants to help make this trail system a reality.
A new development in the solid waste area is the recycling of electronic wastes. Electronics contain a number of chemicals that are harmful to humans and animals. Most residential consumer electronics can be recycled at no charge at the Goodhue County Recycling Center and at the Wanamingo Demolition Landfill.
There is a recycling fee for electronics generated by businesses and institutions.
The use of several recycling "drop boxes" in the outlying communities continues to grow. These drop boxes offer a convenient recycling option to our rural citizens.
The 2008 Household Hazardous Waste Collection season is under way. Collection of paints, paint-related products, pesticides, garden and household products that have warnings such as "corrosive, flammable, toxic, poison, etc." may be brought to the collections.
Information on drop sites, schedules and guidelines are available on the Goodhue County Web site at http://www.co.goodhue.mn.us.
The Demolition Debris Landfill located west of Wanamingo is also managed by Public Works and offers the public an opportunity to dispose of debris from home construction and remodeling projects.
As you can see, there is always something exciting happening in the world of county public works. Let us know if you have any questions about our programs, and please visit us on the Web at www.co.goodhue.mn.us.
One last comment, it may not feel like summer, or construction season as we like to call it, but the construction season will begin soon. Remember that driving in a construction zone takes more of your attention. Slow down, turn off the cruise control, don't crowd the equipment, obey the flaggers, and give yourself more space to slow down.
Drive safe and have a good summer.