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Highway project moves closer to reality

By Staff | Nov 16, 2018

A proposed state highway project through Rugby moved closer to a start as the Pierce County Board of Commissioners listened to a presentation given by an engineering firm working with the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

Donovan Breen, who heads the environmental study portion of the project for Brosz Engineering, Stanley, spoke before Pierce County Commissioners in their regular meeting last Thursday.

Breen said Brosz Engineering and other entities connected with the project were seeking permission and feedback on plans to create detour routes around ND-3 when construction was underway. The proposed routes begin at the intersection of 28th Avenue NE, and 66th St. NE, south on 28th AV NE to US-Highway 2. Using routes at the intersection of 30th AV NE and 1st St. NE, or 31st Avenue NE was also discussed.

“We wanted to make sure that the county had a chance to express any concerns if both of those routes were used,” Breen said.

Breen told the commissioners traffic studies showed 2,800 cars and 450 commercial trucks travel ND-3 through town daily. “A lot of those are just residential vehicles,” he said.

The Commission voted to approve use of the proposed detours, with preference given to the route using 28th AV NE from 66th St. NE.

Other speakers at the regular meeting included Mike Graner, administrator of the Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Center, and Pierce County Sheriff Josh Siegler.

Graner told the commissioners the correctional center netted a profit of $16,867.02 for the month of September. Graner said the inmate count for October was 105 inmates, with a month high of 111, and a low of 103. Average daily count for September was 106; 79 offenders at the facility are from the United States Marshal’s Service.

Graner added 24 of 24 positions for officers at the facility are filled. Terms for the contracted agreement to house US Marshal’s Service inmates have been set, with the USMS agreeing to pay $76 per inmate per day, and $28 for transporting each inmate.

Graner also discussed budgetary issues pertaining to maintaining the heating and boiler system in the facility, and repurposing an old dumpster at the facility after their containers are upgraded when Circle Sanitation begins waste collection service.

In other business, the commission approved minutes from October’s regular meeting, and approved a motion to re-zone the former incorporated community of Barton to an agricultural designation.

Jessica Tagestad of Wold Engineering updated the commission on the reshaping and graveling project in northern Pierce County, and submitted a progressive estimate for the work. The commission approved the estimate.

A representative from RDO Equipment discussed the purchase of road equipment for next year, and the commission approved budgeting for the purchase.

Daniel Schwartz of Nexus Planning and Consulting, Bismarck, spoke to the commission via conference call to discuss the Pierce County Comprehensive Plan for hazard mitigation. County Auditor Karin Fursather noted the county’s current plan dates from 1987. “It needs to be updated,” she told the commissioners.

The commission approved reserving time on Thursday, November 29 to discuss the plan further. The meeting will be held at 1 pm in the commissioner’s room.

The commission also discussed an October 18 planning and zoning ordinance hearing where an amendment defining “waste transfer stations” was approved. Fursather read the amendment to the commissioners, who approved it unanimously.

The commission met with Pierce County Social Services Director Melinda Bischoff-Voeller to discuss redistricting the current service area pursuant to North Dakota Senate Bill 2206. The commission voted on a non-binding resolution to merge with neighboring McHenry and Bottineau Counties to form a new service area in an effort to make services more streamlined and cost-effective as described in the new law. The matter will be discussed further in a special meeting, to be held Monday, November 19.

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