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Supervisors prepare for new year of road repair

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Mitchell County Engineer Rich Brumm indicated the contractor would be back on the Balsam Avenue bridge as construction continues. Crews might return to pour the deck in spring.

Fish Creek Bridge flood

The Fish Creek Bridge, damaged during last year's floods, is one of many bridges maintained by Mitchell County Secondary Roads.

“They’re going to get as much done as they can while this cold weather’s here,” Brumm said at the Jan 11 BOS meeting.

A bridge project on Highway 105 at the intersection of Cameo Avenue (County Road S70) is in the works. Mitchell County Engineer Rich Brumm reported the project will be more complicated than others. Currently there is a temporary traffic control system set up, as one lane of the bridge is closed until repairs to the substructure are made.

“It suits the purpose for now,” Brumm said.

He noted that he received one quote from a contractor. For a six-month setup for signals and TC-216 traffic control, the cost would be approximately $50,000.

Brumm also said that the cost of repairing the bridge would be 60 percent of constructing a new bridge, and that they would need to determine which of these avenues would be best to take.

“We’re thinking of a temporary repair now just to get us by…. It’s a support system that would allow us to open everything back up to full width,” Brumm said. “However, if we do that, we’ll certainly have load restrictions on the bridge.”

Brumm said the question is whether they pay for traffic control while redesigning a new bridge, or make costly repairs and keep the bridge open to one lane with legal loads, or eliminate the traffic control, open it and restrict loads.

“The problem we have, it’s a highly travelled road with grain going both ways,” Brumm said.

Brumm added he was simply providing the supervisors options, and they did not need to make a decision that day.

“Building this bridge was unexpected,” Brumm said. “So it moves other projects we had planned for our bridge funding. Unless we use TIF for something—we can do it with TIF and do local letting versus DOT letting. To do anything right now with DOT funding, bridge funding, we can probably make a September letting, maybe an August letting if things go well.”

Brumm said they would need to pay for temporary repairs out of pocket because it is local, and the temporary repair would not be the required 10-year repair.

“What we thought might be a simple, quick fix, when you start looking at dollars and cents, maybe now is the time to the replace the bridge versus doing a 100-year fix and spending 60 to 70 percent for what it would cost to replace it,” Brumm said.

Brumm said they would have a contract with the traffic control company to set up traffic control based on the Iowa DOT road standard.

“Because we’re down in a valley, it’s wintertime, solar is probably not a great option because there’s probably not enough sunlight to keep things moving, so there might have to be a line drop for constant power,” Brumm said. “None of that’s decided yet. We’re in the process of crossing all these dollars and cents to figure out what makes sense. We’ll bring that back to you guys so we can all discuss it and figure out where we want to take the funding.”

Brumm also presented an amendment to the program. One of these was the Hickory Avenue project, which was changed from farm-to-market to local funding, without the cost changing substantially. On Kirkwood Avenue, funding values were changed.

In order to get these projects in the program, according to the Iowa DOT requisites, a resolution needed to be passed to make the changes.

Secondary Roads is also working on bridge plans for north of Stacyville. Brumm said it is a narrow bridge that is not in dire straits yet and it could be moved back a year, when crews will put in a box culvert.

“The bridge is not restricted yet, but it is on the list to get it replaced,” Brumm said. “The last report was the next two to six years. Because Stacyville’s a heavy thoroughfare with truck traffic and everything else, what I don’t what to have happen is what’s happening now on (Highway) 105. One year they come and say, ‘You’ve got to close it.’ And then we’ve got to wait a year to get design and construction done.”

Brumm said that if they could do a local letting, they could expedite the process with local funding.

“It’s just the way the process is with the state,” he said. “It’s not like we’re circumventing any legality things, it’s just that our processes are quicker when we do it locally. We’re not doing anything different, we can just do it more efficiently.”

According to Brumm, the Iowa DOT’s timeline is dictated by its large volume of projects. In contrast, Mitchell County might have one project to let compared to the DOT’s 100.

The supervisors voted to approve Mitchell County’s five year program resolution.

Jason W. Selby is the community editor for the Mitchell Country Press News. He can be reached at 515-971-6217, or by email at


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