Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Cook County Highway Dept. Postpones Three Construction Projects

In a press release titled “Revis­ing the 10-Year Transportation Plan,” the Cook County High­way Department announced that three projects scheduled to be completed this year are postponed until the 2025 con­struction season.

The three are:

1. Gunflint Trail “Mill the Hill” and Little Devil Track River bridge re­placement.

2. Tofte Park Road recon­struction.

3. Spruce Creek bridge re­placement on Cascade Beach Road

The Cook County Board of Commissioners approved the move at its March 26, 2024 meeting.

The Highway Department cit­ed several reasons for delaying the projects.

Design changes on each project resulted in longer design times. Permitting agencies, citing staff shortages, caused longer permit review times. Commu­nity engagement has also been a factor.

The release states, “Cook County (Highway Dept.) wants to make sure that the project they deliver has incorporated as much as possible from what they hear from those affected by the project.”

With relatively few contrac­tors available to do large-scale construction projects in Cook County, it is important to have projects out for bid as soon as possible. This ensures multiple bids are received and pricing is reflective of the market. Each of the three projects postponed will have the design phase completed this Spring, with bid requests out later this year.

The “Mill the Hill” project will resurface the Gunflint Trail from 5th Ave W up to the four corners intersection at Devil Track Road and Golf Course Road. As part of this project, a fourth travel/bypass lane will be added from the curve head­ing up the hill to Pincushion Drive; intersection improve­ments will be made at Cutoff Road, Old Ski Hill Road, and Devil Track Road. A bridge will replace the existing culvert at the Little Devil Track River. Bridge construction allows the Little Devil Track River to be restored to its natural habitat, and it is part of another stream restoration project with Cook SWCD.

After public engagement meet­ings held by the Highway De­partment, the Tofte Park Road/CR 24 project will reconstruct the east section of the roadway for better drainage. It will also be improved to handle better the heavier vehicles operated by the Tofte Volunteer Fire De­partment.

The Highway Department en­courages citizens with ques­tions about these projects to call 218-387-3014 or email robert.hass@co.cook.mn.us.

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