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County to begin staking for next summer's CSAH 36 construction

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The Crow Wing County Highway Department held the third open house concerning next summer’s construction of County State Aid Highway 36 in Crosslake on Tuesday, April 15, at Crosslake City Hall.

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Eleven residents attended to hear county officials Luke Wehseler and Mark Melby describe what they should expect as the county moves forward with right-of-way acquisitions.

Melby said there is very little property needs to be acquired for the new right-of-way, and the county plans to stake those areas as soon as possible.

“We will have everything staked so you know we’re not going to go beyond this stake,” Melby said. “You can see what trees are affected.”

The most noticeable changes to the road will be around Velvet Lake, where plans include a shift 17 feet to the north near Bonnie Lakes Road. Wehseler said the right-of-way will still meet with the existing edge of the road on the south side, but will be expanded northward to meet requirements.

This will also save the county money, said Melby, because they will acquire land from far fewer parcels than if they’d expanded the road into the lakeshore lots.

The project, slated for completion around Labor Day 2015, will include reconstruction from County Road 37 to County Road 114. The county is receiving federal funds for the reconstruction, so it must meet state aid and federal guidelines.

These guidelines will require improvement to drainage, corrections to horizontal alignment and the vertical profile, expansion of the existing right-of-way, the addition of stormwater drainage ponds, grading and bituminous paving.

Officials warned of possible short-term road closures during the project, particularly on the east end near the wetlands, where the grade will be raised by four feet. Otherwise, the road will be open to local traffic throughout most of the project’s timeline.

“At times, it will be a little hairy,” Melby said. “But we will keep you informed on construction updates.”

The county is expecting to make offers on right-of-way acquisitions by the end of June, but Melby said if they can get the offers ready to go by the end of May or early June, they will do so. The biggest challenge they face, he said, is getting in touch with seasonal residents.

Once the county makes an offer, property owners will have 30 days to decide if they will accept.

Melby told property owners they would have the right to obtain an independent appraisal if they would like a second opinion, and would be reimbursed up to $1,500 toward that appraisal. To receive reimbursement, however, the appraisal must be conducted by a qualified appraiser and the county must receive a copy of the appraisal.

If by 60 days after an offer a settlement has not been reached, the county would go to the next step, which is to acquire property through eminent domain.

Chelsey Perkins can be reached at chelsey.perkins@pineandlakes.com. Follow her at facebook.com/PEJChelsey and on Twitter @PEJ_Chelsey.

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