Board examines plans for road constructionCounty is concerned about access to the new hospital in Cannon Falls
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
As Mayo Clinic moves forward with plans for building a new hospital in Cannon Falls and the Minnesota Department of Transportation moves forward with its plans for an interchange in the same location, Goodhue County is progressing with plans for even more construction in the area.
Back in October 2011, the County Board authorized Goodhue County Public Works Director Greg Isakson to design and build a road that connects Highway 52 in Cannon Falls to County Road 25.
Curious about costs, however, the board held a Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday to hear more about the project.
The road, called the South East Collector, will improve access to the future hospital from both the east and southeast and will, officials hope, reduce traffic heading through the center of Cannon Falls from those directions.
If the board hadn’t approved construction all the way out to County Road 25, another possibility would have been stopping at 318th Street. The problem, Isakson noted after the meeting, is that “318 itself is a little gravel road. In the springtime it could be muddy and it could be just an absolute mess.”
That means ambulances would be likely to take an alternative route, making the South East Collector fairly inadequate for them.
“The hospital is going to have just terrible access if we don’t get all the way to 25,” Isakson told commissioners.
The rough estimated cost of building from Highway 52 to 318th is $3.4 million. Another $1 million would be added when you factor in the cost of getting rid of about 264,000 cubic yards of excess material after grading of the route is complete, Isakson noted.
Construction of the South East Collector from Highway 52 all the way to County Road 25 is estimated at about $5.2 million. In that scenario, excess material would total about 66,000 cubic yards, a number Isakson isn’t concerned with.
“We can lose it. It’s not a problem,” he said.
Moving forward with current plans, the stretch of road from Highway 52 to County Road 25 will be graded in 2013 and paved the following year.
“With the size of the engineer staff we have right now, this is an extremely aggressive program,” Isakson noted. “We can’t really handle any much more.”
If commissioners originally had opted to complete construction only out to 318th Street, the South East Collector would turn into “four projects instead of two projects,” Isakson explained. Grading of the road from Highway 52 to 318th Street would be done the first year, followed by paving of that stretch, while grading of the road between 318th and County Road 25 would be done the next year and paving of that stretch would occur a year later.