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Highway 10 project included in bonding bill request

On the very first day of the 2018 session of the Minnesota State Legislature, the Wadena Board of Commissioners received an update from District 9A State Representative John Poston.

Poston
Poston
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On the very first day of the 2018 session of the Minnesota State Legislature, the Wadena Board of Commissioners received an update from District 9A State Representative John Poston.

The subject? Highway 10.

A bill for an appropriation of $65 million for a Highway 10 project is being requested following a visit to Wadena by the state bonding committee in mid-January. At a meeting in the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center on the afternoon of Jan. 16, a case was made for the project by Poston, District 9A State Senator and Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, Wadena Mayor George Deiss and Wadena Commissioner Bill Stearns. If approved, the project would turn 5.5 miles of the highway, from southeast of Bluffton in Otter Tail County to a point southeast of Wadena, from a two-lane roadway into a four-lane and handle all associated costs.

The bottleneck created by the present two-lane stretch of highway has plagued Wadena for decades.

"(Commissioner) Bill Stearns and I feel this is the best chance ever," Wadena Board of Commissioners Chairman Sheldon Monson said.

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In a separate project, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is pursuing the first phase of an $8.8 million Highway 10 upgrade within the city limits of Wadena in 2018. The second phase of the project is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

Monson has no notion at this time if the legislature will approve the appropriation and suspects if the bonding bill is passed by the legislature, it will not come until the end of the present session, which is estimated to be May 21.

The current language of the bill calls for appropriating funds for right-of-way acquisition, engineering, environmental analysis and cleanup, construction of a four-lane divided roadway, construction of storm water drainage and other related improvements.

In addition to improving Highway 10, Stearns has made it clear he would like the project to address a flooding problem on the Wadena County Fairgrounds.

In other regular agenda business:

• The board approved a waste delivery agreement, a solid waste attendant pay grade change for Shane Lisson to Step 1, Grade 51 and nine of 10 agreements with waste haulers within Wadena County.

• Sheriff Mike Carr and Deputy Sheriff Bryan Savaloja received approval to move forward with a plan to gather donations for the recruitment and training of a new K9 unit for the Sheriff's Office. The present K9, Zeus, has been on duty since 2010, is the only animal in his class still on active duty and is due for retirement in the next 6-8 weeks.

• The board approved the purchase of 100 fire rings for use at county park campsites. The $15,653 purchase will come from the Park Reserve Fund.

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• Approved a remodel plan in the County (Information Technology) IT Department and asked the Building Services Department to gather quotes for upgrading the upstairs and downstairs washrooms in the courthouse.

• Tasked Commissioner Stearns with finding what additional steps the board is required to take in their bid to make the auditor/treasurer and recorder positions appointed instead of elected positions.

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