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Sudden Death | Thunder Bay 2019

Highway Department Begins Removal of Temporary Road Lifts
Robert McKenzie

Highway Department Begins Removal of Temporary Road Lifts

KOOCHICHING COUNTY, MINNESOTA  ~~~~   July 11, 2022 (LSNews)  The Koochiching County Highway Department today began the process to remove the aggregate lifts temporarily placed on roads due to flooding. The aggregate lifts were installed to maintain access to parts of the community as flood waters rose in May and June. Water levels have now receded enough to safely begin removing the lifts.

“It is anticipated that traffic will be delayed up to 10 minutes, or in certain circumstances even longer,” said Trent Nicholson, Assistant Highway Engineer – Koochiching County. “Drivers are asked to be patient and to plan for these delays during this process. We are working in tight areas with very large equipment. The operators want to finish removals quickly, just like you. Please be patient and give them time to safely and efficiently remove this material.”

The project is anticipated to take approximately three weeks. The date of removal for each lift depends on the elevation of the roadway and the location of the equipment, and are subject to change.

Tentative Work Sequence (Subject to change and weather conditions)

·        CR 96 - .25 day

·        CR 137 - .75 day (South portion)

·        CR 133 – 1 day

·        CR 134 – 1 day

·        CR 94 – 6-8 days

·        UT 225 – 1 day

·        CR 136 – 1 day

·        CR 137 – 1 day (North portion)

·        CR 135 – 2 days

·        CR 117 – 1 day


Q/ The water has receded significantly over the last few weeks, why have the aggregate lifts not been removed yet?

A/ We understand that the water level has dropped significantly, but the main reason to leave the aggregate is to provide protection to the road surface and base. With the ground being submerged and/or saturated with flood waters, it leaves all roadways fragile and susceptible to damage. The aggregate lifts provide a bridge or buffer to reduce potential damage. In addition, we needed to maintain access in the event water levels began to rise again.

Q/ The lift you placed on my County Road is wash-boarded and rough, why have you not fixed it?

A/ Specifically on CR 94, North Jackfish Bay, we have been grading the road multiple times weekly. Unfortunately, excessive speeds negate the progress made within hours. This is the reason the road is posted with a temporary 10-mph speed limit. Honoring this speed limit will improve the condition of the roadway.

 Q/ Why are you removing the material?  Why not just pave over it?

A/ These lifts were not designed or installed as a long-term solution. They were placed to maintain temporary access to properties during the flood event. The cross sections are not adequate for permanent traffic.

Q/ When will removal of the aggregate road lifts take place?

A/ Aggregate removal began Monday, July 11, 2022. Typical working hours will be Monday thru Friday from 7 am to 5 pm. Expect delays during that time period if we are working on your County Road. Use extreme caution even outside of those working hours, as there could be uneven road surfaces, debris, or pavement damage.

Q/ Will the County be removing the aggregate of Highway 11 as well?

A/ County Highway Department is not the authority over Highway 11, however, MnDOT is expected to begin removals on Highway 11 on July 11, as well.

Q/ Will you be picking up sandbags at that time?

A/ No, the Highway Department will not be removing sandbags. Please direct sandbag removal questions to Koochiching County Environmental Service Department at 218-283-1157 or email [email protected]

Q/ How long will you be working on removals from my County Road and what is the sequence you will be following

A/ It is anticipated that we will be on this project for approximately three weeks. The date of removal depends on the elevation of the roadway and the location of the equipment, as well as weather conditions.
Q/ What are the expected delays during this project?

A/ It is anticipated that traffic will be delayed up to 10 minutes, or in certain circumstances even longer. We are working in tight areas with very large equipment. The operators want to finish removals quickly just like you. Be patient and give them time to safely and efficiently remove this material.

Q/ Can you bring in a larger crew to speed up the removals?

A/ With the limited room we have loading the trucks, it would not be feasible to have more trucks in operation. The downtime between loading trucks will be used to move traffic through the construction area.

Q/ What is the County doing with the material removed and can I purchase some for personal use?

A/ The County Highway Department will be repurposing this material and has no plans to sell material for personal use. 

Q/ After the material on my County Road has been removed, is it business as usual?

A/ Not entirely. Please remember that the lake will still be in much higher-than-normal conditions and the road base will be saturated for the foreseeable future. We recommend motorists still exercise extreme caution when traveling on these roads. We fully expect to see damage materializing still this year and beyond.

Q/ What are you doing to prevent this from occurring again?

A/ While the Highway Department cannot control the levels of the lake, we are working towards plans to permanently raising many of the impacted roads well above the 2022 peak water elevation. There are challenges with this process though, such as permitting, property impacts, and funding. We will be working through all the challenges as we move plans forward.

Q/ Who can I call with questions?

A/ Questions can be directed to Dave Reimer at 218-283-1186 or [email protected]  or Trent Nicholson at 218-283-1187 (please leave a message with return phone number if unavailable) or [email protected]

#LSN_PublicSafety  #LSN_MMNews 

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