WALKER -- Seven of eight bidders who sought paving projects in Cass County this year bid below county estimates.
Tri-City Paving of Little Falls won the projects with a bid 30 percent below estimates at $751,461.54.
County Engineer David Enblom told the county board Tuesday bidders said being able to use recycled existing road materials and thereby saving new gravel costs was part of the reason their bids were low.
Allowing contractors to select any time of the construction season to work here as long as projects are done by Oct. 1 was another.
Bidding early in the season was a third reason, he said.
Projects included will be County State Aid Highways 10, 21 and 22 and overlays on County Roads 147, 148 and 149.
The board authorized Enblom to use some of the $79,000 difference between estimates and bid prices for the county roads to level those roads before overlays are laid.
Enblom said roads included in this bid package have deteriorated, because they have not been paved in so many years.
For example, he said CSAH 21 was last paved with two inches of blacktop in 1964.
Winning bidder Traffic Marking will paint lane striping on Cass roads this year for less than the county paid in 2000.
They bid 2.65 cents per lane mile for white lines and 2.55 cents for yellow stripes. Last year, the county paid 2.8 cents per mile for white lines and 2.9 cents for yellow.
Cass has new lines painted annually for blacktopped roads carrying 1,000 vehicles or more per day, every other year for those carrying 500 to 1,000 vehicles per day and every five years for those having fewer than 500 vehicles per day.
Enblom had budgeted $85,000 for lane striping this year. The bid package will cost the county $72,458.41.
The board voted to remove four miles of County State Aid Highway 56 in Blind Lake Township east of Backus from the state aid road system, re-naming it County Road 174.
That mileage will be re-allocated to make portions of County Roads 105 and 113 state aid roads, thereby making them eligible for state aid funding.
CR 105 will become an extension of CSAH 70 over the Gull River dam, running to the Crow Wing County line for 1.3 miles. County Road 113 will become CSAH 27, running north about 1.5 miles from CSAH 25 to Highway 84 at the southwest edge of Backus.
Another half mile of new state aid road will be designated in Pine River to connect CSAH 2 through Barclay West to the main intersection with Highway 371 in Pine River. That construction project is slated to be done this year, Enblom said.
State aid roads must connect with other state aid roads or a state highway, Enblom said. The county cannot add new state aid mileage, but may obtain state approval to transfer roads between the state aid and county road systems.
Any portion of state aid road not re-assigned can be banked toward another exchange project, Enblom said. This did not used to be possible.
Because one mile of County Road 107 is not directly connected to the rest of County Road 107, the board voted to re-designate the one-mile section as County Road 108.
To be more consistent with Crow Wing County road numbering, the Cass portion of the road running east from Pine River toward Emily will be re-designated as County Road 1. It previously was County Road 2.
The board passed a resolution prioritizing bridge replacements. Those on CSAH 13, 6 and 7 will be replaced in 2002. A bridge on County Road 107 will be the top county road bridge priority. One of two Sylvan Township bridges will be the top township bridge priority.
Bridges in Lake Shore and East Gull Lake are top city bridge priorities.
Others included on the list are bridges on CSAH 1 and 25, County Roads 103 and 161 and in Sylvan, Meadowbrook, Wilson and Wabedo townships.
Enblom reported the county highway department has begun cooperative projects with Leech Lake Reservation.
Some improvements were made on Boy Lake Road with federal storm damage funds and a contribution from Leech Lake Reservation, he said. This year, Leech Lake Reservation will lift the grade and install new culverts through swampy areas on that road.
Navy Sea-Bees will lay a new layer of Class 5 gravel on Boy Lake Road. Cass County will provide engineering technical assistance for the project.
When the county rebuilds CSAH 60 from Highway 2 at Cass Lake to CSAH 75 (Bingo Palace Road) in three years, Enblom said Leech Lake Reservation highway officials have indicated they will contribute about $500,000 or a third of the anticipated cost toward that project.
That road serves the Cass Lake Indian Hospital, some tribal government offices and a residential area.
Enblom said he expects the county to save costs overall by combining anticipated county projects with reservation projects, because larger bids generally cost less than several small projects done separately.
Duplication of engineering costs for roads also can be avoided, he said.
County Board members Tuesday voted to permit Leech Lake Reservation to close a portion of the service road by Northern Lights Casino at the Y Junction of Highways 371 and 200 east of Walker.
The county, however, will retain ownership and not abandon the closed portion, so it can be used for any future re-designing the state does for that intersection.
A public hearing will be held before the closure is finalized.
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