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Paynesville Press - August 22, 2001

Old Lake Road to get six-foot shoulders

By Michael Jacobson

The first link in a pedestrian trail that eventually could circle Lake Koronis should become a reality within the next year.

Paynesville Township's Board of Supervisors approved a renovation plan for Old Lake Road at their meeting on Monday, Aug. 13, that included six-foot shoulders, as recommended to the township by the Koronis Trail Committee.

The board received bids for the Old Lake Road renovation at their last meeting in July but tabled the bids to review them with the county engineer and research six-foot shoulders. (Originally, only five-foot shoulders were planned.)

The board also worked with the low bidder on some alternates that reduced the total cost of the project. When the bids were opened in July, Mathiowetz Construction Company of Sleepy Eye had the lowest total bid at $456,000. This included widening the base to 38 feet, remilling the asphalt surface, and replacing every culvert.

The board accepted a bid of $343,000 from Mathiowetz for the project with cost-saving alternatives. For instance, the township now will overlay an inch and a half of asphalt on the existing surface (instead of grinding up the existing surface and putting on two layers of asphalt). Overlaying saves the township $50,000, said board chairman Don Pietsch.

The board also plans to save by replacing only the culverts that really need it, and by a narrower base.

The narrower base also will allow homeowners to plant grass up to the asphalt surface. (A two-foot gravel shoulder on each side of the road has been eliminated.)

The township received $392,000 for upgrades and maintenance from the county last year when it acquired Co. Rd. 124, which was subsequently renamed Old Lake Road. With interest, the township now has nearly $415,000 in its account, said Pietsch.

The total cost of the renovation won't be known until completion, but the township should now have money left for on-going maintenance.

"I think it'll be a great road," said Pietsch. "We're trying to get the biggest bang for our dollar."

Concerns brought up at the township meeting included supervisor John Atwood asking if all the bidders should have a chance at the new alternates and township resident Cory Meagher asking if 11-foot driving lanes were sufficient for boat traffic. Almost all township roads are 22-feet wide without centerline markings, noted Pietsch, but none have such wide shoulders.

Pietsch feels the road will be done in a first-rate fashion by Mathiowetz Construction, whose owners have a cabin on Koronis off of Old Lake Road.

Pietsch and Meagher agreed that the narrower road base, with no gravel, and grass up to the asphalt was better for homeowners along the road. "I'd rather have that," said Meagher, who lives along the road.

The plan is to widen the road base and dig out 1,500 square feet of soft spots this fall, and then let the road settle all winter. The road will be overlayed with asphalt next summer.

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