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Cass County Board: Commissioners consider weighing in on Gull Lake Dam Road issue

Map from the St. Paul District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website at: http://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Gull-Lake-Road/

WALKER—Cass County Board may consider submitting an opinion on the proposal of whether the Army Corps of Engineers should continue licensing the city of East Gull Lake to keep its road over the Gull Dam.

Generally, the board does not take a stand on issues that do not directly involve county property or interests.

Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk reported to the board on a recent public hearing to receive input on that 110-year-old road license to East Gull Lake.

He said American Indian tribes have expressed concern there may be burial mounds or other artifacts in the in the ground in that area, but have not provided specifics.

If the road crossing were moved, Gaalswyk said, it would require a new bridge at a new location, which also could involve historic artifacts. It also could involve high costs to the county and city to upgrade roads connecting the area to Highway 371, because it would lead to a more direct route to Highway 371 and increase traffic on connecting roads in his view.

Gaalswyk also said the alternate site for a bridge would generate increased left-turning in an area which already has a high-accident level.

The county highway department will research the impact on the county's road system before the board considers whether to make a formal comment.

The board also discussed a citizen concern about the road closure planned for County Road 129 this month where a bridge is being replaced east of Longville.

That project is slated to begin Aug. 20 and be completed in October.

The citizen asked why there would not be at temporary bridge installed to carry traffic while the bridge work is being done.

County Engineer Darrick Anderson said the road is a county road, not state aid, so no state money would be available to pay for the temporary bridge. Also, a Department of Natural Resources permit would be required to install a second, temporary bridge.

Because this bridge is marginally safe as it is, the wait to obtain the DNR permit could result in the bridge having to be closed anyway, he noted.

He said emergency responders have been advised of the detours for the project. He also located several sites where an ambulance helicopter could land in a serious emergency.

The board decided the project should go ahead as planned and that the citizen be advised of the board's decision.

Anderson presented the single bid the county received to repair a cement block building at the county's transfer station north of Pine River.

Hy-Tech won the contract for $274,000 to make the repair. The county's contracting transfer station operator will reimburse the county the repair cost.