Motorists traveling between Brainerd and Crosslake should expect delays as road work is in progress on Crow Wing County Highway 3.
Lyndon Robjent, highway engineer, told county commissioners Tuesday that work is continuing along eight miles of Highway 3 from County Highway 19 to 11. Turn lanes and shoulders are being worked on now in the resurfacing project.
"We anticipate the project to be completely done in early June so we are ahead of schedule on that one," Robjent said. "Eight miles is a long project."
Robjent said there will be a few inconveniences. A pilot car and flaggers will direct traffic.
"There will be a lot of new turn lanes, bypass lanes and I think it will be a big safety improvement," Robjent said.
Another road project in progress is Highway 10 in the Bay Lake area from Highway 18 to County Road 14. Pavement will be removed next week on the southern two miles of the project. The project, a total reconstruction of six miles of roadway, is expected to be completed by Labor Day.
County Highway 2 by St. Mathias will be paved in June and should be completed by July Fourth. The County Highway 48 bike trail is expected to be constructed in September. Seal coating on County Highway 11, from County Highway 3 to Highway 6, is expected in July and rumble strips will be included on the outside of the lanes.
In other business, the board:
Heard guarded optimism about a potential turn around in construction activity signaled by an increase in permits. With the recession, the numbers of permits issued in the county decreased substantially between 2007 and 2008. Each month dropped - from 7 percent to 65 percent - with the exception of a 16 percent increase in March last year. That short upswing was followed by a 57 percent decrease in April 2008.
Permit activity continued to decline in 2009, dropping even further from the lower numbers of 2008. In January of 2007, the county issued 29 permits, that number declined to 10 in January of 2008 and was cut in half again to five in January 2009. Overall, permit activity is down 10 percent from 2009 to 2008.
But this year April's numbers posted a 16 percent increase compared to last year. That was the first increase since March of 2008.
"Things are picking up," said Chris Pence, land services supervisor. "So it seems as though things are improving a little bit."
Pence said he didn't know what that would mean long term, but for the moment it indicates an upswing.
Approved a Homeland Security Grant of $50,000 to purchase new equipment for the bomb squad.
Approved acquisition of right-of-way for the county's plan to construct and improve County Highway 4 from County Highway 18 to Lakeshore Drive in Breezy Point. The county is looking to acquire 70 parcels and will have the option of eminent domain if necessary. Construction is expected in 2010.
Learned the average cost per staff hour of service provided for areas of Social Services - child protection, child care, chemical dependency, mental health, developmental disabilities and adult services - is 35 percent less than the statewide average and almost half the cost of metro counties and 15.5 percent less than outstate counties. Crow Wing County average cost was $83.45, the statewide was $127.02, metro counties were $163.47 and non-metro counties were $98.71.
Approved proceeding with the sale of the county-owned property at 13997 Baxter Drive, formerly the Deals 'n' Steals building. A minimum bid amount is $125,000. The county originally bought the land for the proposed Highway 48 extension before the decision was made to extend Cypress Drive instead.
Approved hiring a seasonal sign worker and highway maintenance worker for the Pine Center substation.
Commissioner Phil Trusty was absent.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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