Mayor to MnDOT: You wrecked it

BLUE EARTH – Blue Earth City Council wants answers on how two streets used as detours for Highway 169 construction will be fixed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The agreement MnDOT signed before work on the state construction project began said the state would replace the streets used as detours “in kind.”

City Engineer Wes Brown said he’s been exchanging e-mails with Susan Museus, construction project supervisor for MnDOT, on how Sailor and Eighth streets will be repaired.

In the e-mails, Museus states: “MnDOT proposes to patch damaged/rutted areas of the roadways, then place a 1.5 inch bituminous overlay (tapered to 0 inch depth at shoulders).”

Rollin Sinn from MnDOT was at the meeting Monday and faced intense questions from Mayor Rick Scholtes. The meeting was also attended by Sen. Julie Rosen and Rep. Bob Gunther.

“You guys wrecked it,” Scholtes said. “I’d say the whole road’s in disrepair.”

Sinn said MnDOT routed the detour onto Sailor and Eighth to accommodate businesses in the area, particularly Kwik Trip convenience store so trucks making deliveries had access. He said the extra traffic, particularly truck traffic, damaged the streets.

“I don’t think it was destroyed by detour traffic; it was destroyed by construction traffic,” said Councilman Dan Brod.

Sinn reiterated MnDOT would patch about 20 percent of the area, mill the outside edges and put down an inch and a half overlay.

Brown doubted the overlay would take care of deep heaves in the streets.

“We could’ve gotten by with this old street for five years,” said Councilman Glenn Gaylord of the streets before construction began. “Suppose you now fix this street and it doesn’t last until we can redo it (on the construction schedule)?”

“All we’re asking for is take out what’s (damaged), flatten it out and put the same amount of pavement back,” Scholtes said.

“What will be done before winter?” asked Councilman Russ Erichsrud.

Sinn agreed it’s important to get the street back in good enough shape so city crews don’t pull up bituminous while clearing snow. But he also noted that working on Highway 169 is the state’s high priority, especially with snow in the forecast.

“Can we get something specific in writing?” asked Councilman John Huisman.

“We want to know concretely what’s going to be done for it and if we don’t agree with it, what we can do,” said Kathy Bailey, city administrator.

Sinn said Museus would be the one authorized to do that.

“If we have a road that will hold up as long as we need it, we’re OK with that,” Gaylord said.