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Paynesville Press - August 1, 2001

Township opens bids for Old Lake Road upgrades

By Michael Jacobson

Bids for the reconstruction and improvement of Old Lake Road (formerly County Road 124) were opened by Paynesville Township last week, but a decision about the extent of the project will not be made until August.

The project was bid in three parts. The base bid includes digging out soft spots, filling them, and repaving the road. This is all that the county was prepared to do, said Don Pietsch, chairman of the township's board of supervisors.

The first alternate is for widening the road to 36 feet, allowing for at least five-foot shoulders for pedestrian traffic, and replacing all the culverts along the road. A second alternate is for realigning the west junction with Highway 55 to make the intersection more perpendicular.

The township received three bids on the project: from Dunnick Brothers, Randy Kramer, and Mathiowetz Construction, who also provided some of the initial engineering to the township at no cost.

The township received $392,000 for upgrades and maintenance on the road from the county last year when it acquired Co. Rd. 124. With interest, the township now has nearly $415,000 in its account, said board chairman Don Pietsch.. This easily will cover the base bids, he noted, and provide plenty for on-going maintenance.

Contractors: Dunnick Kramer Mathiowetz
Base $326,150 $438,932 $313,800
Alt. 1 $133,303 $180,080 $130,393
Alt. 2 $23,108 $24,900 $12,258
TOTAL $482,561 $643,912 $456,451

To do the Cadillac version - widening the road, replacing culverts, and making a better intersection -Ęcosts more. "Obviously, if we do everything, it's more than we would like to spend," said Pietsch. "We need to decide if we want to replace every culvert or not."

The township also has letters from the DNR and Stearns County allowing the widening of the road along Kruger's Pond, with safety measures to minimize erosion and impact on the wetland.

The township has pledged $10,000 toward a trail along Old Lake Road, and has matching pledges for the trail from the Koronis Lake Association and the city of Paynesville.

Jeff Bertram, representing the trail committee, presented the board with the committee's recommendations for Old Lake Road, including that the trail should follow the road and that it should be on both sides of the road to meet federal guidelines.

Bertram also relayed a recommendation from the trail committee that the shoulders should be at least six-feet wide for maximum safety. Federal guidelines require at least five-foot shoulders. (The trail committee is applying for federal funds to build the trail.)

The current plan is for two 11-foot driving lanes, two five-foot paved shoulders, and two two-foot gravel shoulders on top of the road base. Adding a foot of pavement to each shoulder would reduce the gravel portion to one foot. It would cost an estimated $12,000 to pave an extra two feet on the 2.5 mile road to allow for six-foot shoulders.

Bertram said an extra foot would make the trail much safer. Too narrow of a trail, he warned, would present the wrong message to the public and might hurt the overall project. Bertram offered the help of the trail committee on a fund-raising campaign to help cover the extra cost of six-foot shoulders.

Construction is not planned until after Labor Day, when the digging and filling of soft spots and the widening of the road would be done. This fill needs to settle before the road could be repaved next summer. The board considered recessing their meeting and making a decision as soon as possible.

"I think you should bring it back at the next meeting, so you can discuss it with the people," countered township resident Cory Meagher.

Pietsch agreed, saying the board needs two weeks to think about the decision. He will have the bids reviewed with the county engineer before the township board's next meeting on Monday, Aug. 13.

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