Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Shawn Jansen
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Many road projects coming to Windemere Township

 

January 17, 2019



A couple of long awaited projects in Windemere Township will be moving forward. At Thursday’s regular meeting, the Windemere Township Board of Supervisors approved up to $30,000 or in-kind work to remove the collapsed culverts to Island Lake that have prevented the outlet from working properly. The blocked outlet caused flooding around the lake during a large rain event in 2016.

After the last effort to replace the culverts did not get funding through the state legislature, Chair Pete Steen reported the Pine County Soil and Water Conservation District conducted a meeting in mid-December with Island Lake stakeholders such as the Lake Association, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), MN Rep. Mike Sundin, the township, and lake residents.

He said the DNR presented a new, more economically feasible plan — removal of the culverts and dredging to shape a free flowing outlet and use private money to build a bridge across the outlet so the property owners could use their own property. Steen said the township’s role is to remove the culverts, and the Lake Association will keep an eye on the outlet, but the responsibility for the long-term maintenance of the outlet has not yet been determined.

Steen said, “I really don’t believe it will take $30,000. I’m not even sure it would take $20,000. I just want to make sure we cover ourselves.”

The project will be timed for a period of low water, such as late winter or summer.

Sturgeon Island bridge

Windemere Township will work with Pine County to have the Sturgeon Island bridge rebuilt as a project under the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) Road and Bridges fund.

According to Pine County Engineer Mark LeBrun in a phone conversation Monday, the state Town and Bridge Fund is made of gas tax funds set aside strictly for bridge replacements in townships. If townships choose to proceed with a project through the fund, the county will provide the engineering and supervision for the project. Townships are to contribute $20,000 toward the project.

It will be up to the township what kind of bridge is to be built because the covered bridge has some historical significance, Steen said, but the township will have to pay the amount above what the state would pay for a basic bridge. A public meeting, with engineers present, will be held to gather input, and Steen said snowbirds can email their thoughts on the project.

It was noted the covering is the landowners’ responsibility, while the roadbed is the township’s. Steen said they will be posting the meeting on the township’s website at http://windemeretownship.com/.

Other road projects

Warbler Lane culvert —Steen reported that Doc’s owner Jim Kroon had a survey completed, a copy of which is to be provided to the township, and Steen said the neighbor on Warbler Lane was contacted. Consensus was reached that the water on Warbler Lane was due to a high water table. Steen said a culvert was approved last year and so the project can move forward.

Palon Road — The engineer and contractor hired for the Palon Road project will conduct a presentation in February to discuss the project. Steen warned that when the frost starts thawing out of the ground, likely in March, the road will be closed to prevent damage to it. The meeting will be posted on the township website.

Balsam Road culverts — Road Maintenance Supervisor Mike Buetow reported that due to weather constraints only one of the culverts was lowered after pumping about 2 million gallons of water. The culvert is in place temporarily until Pine County can install a box culvert. He said that because the township is working with the county, the installation will cost the township only $20,000. It is another project that qualifies for MnDOT’s Road and Bridges fund.

Other business

Steen reported he inquired about speed studies for roads but had not yet received a response from the Department of Transportation.

Steen also reported he had not yet received the application from the state representative of the National Flood Insurance Program. He said he did confirm the township was in a flood zone.

 

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