The Tuesday, March 20 Rushford Village Council meeting was largely comprised of discussion of an old issue: what to do with a water crossing on Benson Lane. The low usage road serves just two residences, but the crossing, which is not a bridge, but a “Missouri Crossing,” is in need of either repair or replacement, both of which come with their own set of challenges.
Presenting information to the council was Derek Olinger and Brian Malm, of the engineering firm of Bolton & Menk. Olinger indicated the city may not need Department of Natural Resources permitting for the project due to the area not meeting five-square-mile drainage requirements. A letter from the DNR to the city indicating such was signed and received. However, the DNR did indicate to Bolton & Menk five caveats for the project, which were not specified at the meeting.
The goals of the project are to reduce overtopping water events, eliminate a dip in the roadway, and to stabilize the banks surrounding the crossing. Olinger offered four options to the city and detailed them in drawings and cost analysis.
The first option would be to leave the crossing in place, replacing the current single, 30-inch culvert, and adding new fill and pavement. This option meets design for a 2.5-inch storm event over 24 hours. This option, while least expensive was viewed largely as not addressing current issues.
The second option, upsized to handle a three-inch per 24-hour rainfall, considered a two-year event. This would be achieved via twin 54-inch, reinforced concrete pipe culverts. Estimated cost is $143,000.
Option three, to Olinger’s surprise, estimated out at $141,700. It calls for a 12 by eight-foot, concrete box culvert capable of handling a 3.77-inch rainfall or a five-year storm event. There is an alternative for this to be done with an aluminum culvert for the same cost.
The last option, placing a 16 by eight-foot box culvert, is capable of handling a 4.5-inch rainfall per 24 hours, which equates to a 10-year storm event. The estimated cost for this option is $178,500.
With Minnesota Department of Transportation standards, the needs indicate at least a five-year event target. Using option three or four, with a box culvert, will reduce the amount of debris being carried downstream through the crossing. A three-inch, high pressure gas line, feeding the City of Peterson, lies in the area and it’s still unclear if it will have any bearing on what option the city chooses. If in the right of way, engineers can coordinate for relocation. If on private property, it’s likely there will be a city cost to relocate the pipeline.
“A box culvert would probably be the answer,” noted Mayor Gordon Johnson.
While the options all will still allow overtopping of the crossing, Malm indicated options one and two are likely not viable options. Olinger recommended that preliminary designs be done and still submitted to the DNR. “That way, they can see exactly what you’re doing,” he stated. “The worry is if they don’t picture what you picture. If someone comes out during the construction and things need to change, it gets expensive.” Malm added the concern is if the city chooses anything other than a box culvert for the design.
It isn’t clear whether the city will need to get Army Corps of Engineering approval for the project or whether the Corps has jurisdiction over it.
The timeline for the project would likely see contractor bidding ending in late June. The construction process could begin in August or September. “If it washes out, we’d have to spend twice the amount of money,” added Johnson. The city will continue to look at option three and option four, with alternate bidding to allow for an aluminum culvert option. Bolton & Menk will utilities located and a survey of the area done before coming back to the council to revisit options.
“The price is horrendous, but it isn’t going away,” concluded Johnson.
In other news, results from a League of Minnesota Cities, Parks & Recreation General Liability survey are in. The results will be forwarded to City Attorney Tom Manion for review. It’s likely that Manion will be able to provide the city with recommendations for a potential policy.
The council also approved a number of small items including rates for spring cleanup and workshops/professional learning opportunities for City Clerk Mary Miner and Public Works Supervisor Travis Scheck.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Tuesday, April 3, at 7 p.m., at the Village Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.