When it comes to repair of Redwood County bridge #89859, nothing has been typical, said Willy Raben-berg, Redwood County highway engineer.
The bridge, known as the swayback, has been closed for a significant amount of time, after a series of high water flows caused damage to the deck leaving the county no choice but to close it to vehicle traffic.
Since that closure, efforts have been moving at a painstaking pace as the county works to repair what is not a normal bridge.
The historic significance of the bridge adds to the level of bureaucracy, as historic elements of the bridge require what would be standard repair procedure to alter that intrinsic historicity.
What that has meant is Rabenberg and others working to get the bridge repaired have been forced to work with a variety of government entities to get even the most basic of concepts approved. The good news is one of those steps has been approved, as the state has accepted a variance request from the county that would allow it to repair the bridge using state aid dollars. The variance would allow the bridge to be built without the standard safety railing, as well as with a road width variance from one end of the bridge to the other.
The county adopted a resolution at a recent meeting ands then adopted the resolution again at its meeting this past Tuesday with a minor change, and in essence what the resolution does is takes the state off the hook for any potential issues that would arise from the variances.
The resolution specifically “indemnifies, saves and holds harmless the State of Minnesota” from any action arising out of or by reason of the approved variances.
The county has also agreed to defend itself at its sole cost, against any action or proceeding as a result of the granting of the variance.
This variance is the next step in what is still going to be a long process.
One of the issues the county board is still working through is an agreement it has to receive $32,000 in legacy funding.
The question raised by the county is whether or not the complexity of the contract it must approve is really worth the funds.
Another issue the county is working through is the proposed turnback of the bridge and the county road that runs through the park to the City of Redwood Falls.
Conversations continue between the city and the county to address several “to do” items the city wants accomplished before it would accept the road.
Naturally, one of those is a repaired bridge. There are other items to be repaired as well, and the county board approved the use of state aid construction funds to cover those repairs up to a price tag of $99,000.
Page 2 of 2 - The plan would be to have the city do the work of getting the projects accomplished, with the county paying the bill up to that amount and then any additional funds would come from city coffers.
The message the county continues to hear from the city is to get the bridge project done as soon as is possible, and according to Rabenberg now that the variance has been approved it can move forward with plans.
A new issue with piers on the bridge is going to add costs to the project said Rabenberg, who is hoping to get to the bid letting process as soon as possible.