Residents ask for update on ramp walls that collapsed at tunnel

At the request of citizen Joe Lanz, the Nisswa City Council shared information at its Wednesday, July 16, meeting regarding damage to rampway walls at the pedestrian tunnel.

At the request of citizen Joe Lanz, the Nisswa City Council shared information at its Wednesday, July 16, meeting regarding damage to rampway walls at the pedestrian tunnel.

City attorney Don Anderson said a significant rainstorm occurred, which caused a couple of walls leading down to the tunnel to fail, as well as sediment to wash down into the tunnel. The walls were rebuilt to a higher standard, using bigger, heavier rock that is not stacked, to prevent this from happening again, Anderson said.

Other walls that didn't fail, but could have, also were rebuilt to the higher standard, he said.

The city is evaluating the work to ensure it meets standards.

"All main walls have rebar in them so they are structurally sound. It's the rampway up on both sides that had issues because of no rebar," said Mayor Brian Lehman, noting the city has the same concerns as residents.


City planner Loren Wickham said the city does have final acceptance of the project, which does include those walls. Plus the city is pursuing a one-year warranty for all walls on site, which is standard procedure.

In answer to another question, Wickham said drains do run under the entire tunnel and there are drainage ponds on the west side of the tunnel. The drains will have to be cleaned before the city accepts the project, because of the mud that got trapped in there after spring rains. The area wasn't landscaped before spring rainfall, Wickham said.

Resident Fred Heidmann suggested the council have a liaison to work with Wickham on tunnel issues. The Public Works Committee has been updated on tunnel work, he was told.

"As a citizen, I request the council consider a liaison," Heidmann said. "There are issues that need some attention, and concerns after inspecting work done a third time. Older walls are still substandard in the way the rock is stacked."

Wickham said SEH, the engineering firm in charge of the tunnel, is comfortable with work done to date and feels it is meeting specifications on the redesign.

Heidmann said he found that troubling. When a project manager for a job is hired by a company to do design work, he doesn't see the benefit to the city. The project manager should have been watching out for the city, he said.

The tunnel had been closed to pedestrians while repair work occurred. Permanent railings also will be installed soon and temporary railings will be taken down, the council learned.

Public safety


Police reported June calls as 17 agency assists, 201 calls for service, one criminal citation, 17 traffic citations, 57 traffic warnings, three arrests, six medicals and nine alarms.

In other business July 16, the council:

• Heard Heidmann withdraw his name to be appointed to the planning and zoning commission because he is considering running for a city council seat. The planning commission/board of ajustment still has two openings. Applications are available on the city website.

• Heard an update from city attorney Steve Qualley regarding union negotiations with department heads. The hope is to present a final contract to the council next month, he said, noting he doesn't think mediation will be necessary.

• Approved an on-sale/off-sale taproom license for Big Axe Brewing Co.

• Approved the final plat of Cullen Pines, which is six lots.

• Amended the land use ordinance regarding signs to allow hanging signs, specifying they be not less than 7 feet.

• Set budget meeting dates for Aug. 13, Sept. 4 and Sept. 11, if necessary.

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
What To Read Next
Get Local