UPDATED 10:10 p.m. Thursday, October 7
By Byron Higgin, Mascot Publisher
Work on Highway 68 in Minneota came to a screeching halt this week.
"The compaction estimates were not what they should be," said Minneota Mayor Tony Esping at a special city council meeting on Wednesday.
As a result, Northdale Construction and the city came to an impasse and no work was done Monday through Wednesday during extremely nice weather.
"There are unusual circumstances — all the rain," said the mayor. "And the soil is just not compacting," he said.
Bottom line: the city agreed to dig up the compacted sand, put $10,000 toward purchase of new clay and sand (Class 5) and do the project over.
Northdale estimated the cost of doing the highway over would be $14,000 to $15,000, including their own time and effort. But the city stood fast on the $10,000, feeling Northdale had to share in the project.
"We could wait and dig it up and dry it," said Councilman Tim Koppien.
"We gotta get it done," added Councilman Lyall Gislason.
Project Engineer Justin Christensen said, "Trying to dry the material the first week of October has met with mixed results."
While he didn't offer a recommendation, he urged the council to, "Keep the project moving." He did feel Northdale should "share" in the cost since they had a contract to finish by now.
The area of concern is the north side of Highway 68 from Rick's Bait and Taxidermy to Swede's, or roughly about 580 feet.
"It seems as if we're going to have to pay for the materials," said Councilwoman Terri Myhre.
"They should pay for their labor costs," said Koppien.
The plan is to dig out the current clay and gravel, put in new material and compact the area. The plan is for McLaughlin and Schultz to tar the highway on Monday (or Thursday at the latest).
Then, the final work will be done on the south side of the highway and the traffic will be moved to the north side so that by the end of next week the project could be completed.
The city hopes to increase the loan on the project to include the additional $10,000 cost. Mayor Esping called this additional expense, "A built in contingency," indicating, "We've got to get it done properly."