Next year a bridge over the Minnesota River north of old North Redwood is going to be replaced.

With that in mind, Keith Berndt, Redwood County Highway Department engineer, feels that could also be a good time to resurface CSAH 101 from Highway 19/71 to the Minnesota River.

After all, the road in the area of the bridge is going to be closed anyway, so doing the road work there makes sense.

The challenge is finding the funding to make it possible.

According to Berndt, that portion of roadway is the most heavily traveled throughout Redwood County. Berndt said studies in the area show traffic volume of 3,500 vehicles traveling on that road every day making the need for keeping that road in good shape a priority.

So, Berndt presented the county board with an option that would allow for the project to be done next year. That would include the enacting of a local option sales tax.

Berndt proposed implementing a one-half cent sales tax in Redwood County to help pay for the CSAH 101 project. Estimates show that putting that into place would collect in the range of $500,000-700,000 annually. The local sales tax option is available for transportation projects in Minnesota.

However, they can only be approved for specific projects, and they must be rescinded when the revenues raised are sufficient to finance the proposed project. 

The cost of the resurfacing project is estimated at $2.5 million.

“It is obvious that state funding for transportation is not keeping up,” said Jim Salfer, county commissioner.

Lon Walling, county commissioner expressed concern about implementing the local sales tax option, adding it sends the wrong message to the state.

“If we do this we are telling the state we will just do your job for you,” said Walling.

No decisions regarding the option were made by the board at its Nov. 6 meeting, but it is planning to discuss the idea again at an upcoming meeting.

Prior to approving the local option sales tax a public hearing must be held to allow people a chance to express their thoughts.

In other action, the board:

• Discussed the possibility of disbanding its current parks and trails committee and replacing it with a more site specific committee dedicated to improving Plum Creek Park, the one park owned and operated by Redwood County.

• Approved the purchase of a new Caterpillar front end loader for the highway department at a cost of $260,871.

• Approved a lease agreement for storage use at the Franta pit near Wabasso at a cost of $600 per year.

• Discussed the future of the building at the landfill site. The building was put up for sale, and the county received a bid to purchase and move the building. That individual is no longer interested in the building, and that was the only bid the county received. The board directed Berndt to go and take a look at the building to see how possible it would be for the county to just demolish it.