Main thoroughfare through Crosslake remains CLOSED through north part of city
Meeting called to discuss possible ways to temporarily open the road for the Labor Day holiday weekend
CROSSLAKE — Despite some business owners’ pleas, the main road through Crosslake will remain closed in the north part of the city over the Labor Day holiday weekend.
After discussion Friday, Sept. 2, that included the city council, business owners, city and county engineers, and the construction company senior project manager, the conclusion was that County State Aid Highway 66 from near the fire hall to just past the County Road 16 intersection at the Moonlite Square car wash will remain closed until the sanitary sewer extension project is complete.
The anticipated completion date is mid-September.
The only way to reopen any part of the road - even temporarily - is for the city to take all liability for it. Though Mayor Dave Nevin asked the council to do that for the holiday weekend, no council members supported his suggestion.
Council member Aaron Herzog said the city doesn’t have insurance for this.
The contractor - Casper Construction Inc. - has liability insurance for CSAH 66 during the construction project. CSAH 66 is a county-owned road, and Crow Wing County Engineer Tim Bray said the city would have to release the county from liability as well if it wanted to temporarily open the road.
“Liability is the bottom line here,” said Tom Alverson, senior project engineer with Casper Construction. “The owner of my company will not allow me to open this road and assume all liability.
“That’s my construction site out there. Right now if a car runs into one of my backhoes, I assume all liability for that accident and so I have responsibility to control that site,” he said. “When people move signs and drive through it, I’ve lost control of both. Signs are in place for that reason - to keep people safe. They are there for the safety of the residents and the safety of my employees.
“I want every one of my guys to go home to their family at night. I want every one of these residents to go home to their families at night,” Alverson said.
Nevin called the special council meeting Friday to discuss whether there was any way to open the road temporarily - by using a pilot car, temporary striping, cones or other ways.
It all came down to liability.
Though the road appears paved and done, Alverson said it is not safe. Manholes are raised, there are drop-offs at curbs and driveways and more.
“It’s an active construction site,” Alverson said. “There are hazards all over this project because it is not complete.”
Read more about this special city council meeting, including comments from business owners and others, in the Sept. 7 Echo Journal.
Find recordings of Crosslake City Council meetings on the city's YouTube channel.
Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.