LYON COUNTY - A county road tour planned for members of the Lyon County Board on Tuesday morning turned out to include more than just roads. While county commissioners did take a look at the sites of completed and planned road projects in the Marshall area and southern Lyon County, they also saw examples of soil and water conservation projects completed this year and discussed the possibility of removing a set of abandoned bridge abutments on the Redwood River in Lynd.
Commissioners were unable to complete their full itinerary for the road tour, which included road projects on County Road 3, south of Minneota and County Road 10, west of Cottonwood, and the new location of the county highway shop in Cottonwood. Commissioners' consensus was that a second, shorter tour to see those project sites should be planned.
Some of the stops on the tour Tuesday included areas the county wants to address in its five-year road and bridge plan. Lyon County Public Works Director Suhail Kanwar said Lyon County has received a $190,000 state grant to regrade the slope of County Road 7 along a quarter-mile stretch where it approaches U.S. Highway 14 from the north. Kanwar said the grading project would improve visibility at the intersection, which was the site of a fatal crash in 2008.
Commissioners saw another intersection that was on the list for safety improvements, at County Road 14 and County Road 54 near Garvin. A curved, two-way approach on one part of the intersection means traffic risks for vehicles turning onto or off of County Road 54, Kanwar said. Getting rid of the "pork chop" intersection in favor of a 90-degree intersection would help improve safety.
One stop on the tour sparked discussion among board members. Lucas Youngsma of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources showed commissioners a set of bridge abutments on the Redwood River in Lynd. The bridge had been removed in 2001, and now, Youngsma said, the abutments were acting as a "pinch point" for the river's flow, as well as being undercut by erosion. Youngsma said both the DNR and neighboring residents were concerned about possible damage to the riverbanks and the land around the abutments.
"At this point, everyone's trying to be proactive," Youngsma said.
Commissioners were uncertain about having Lyon County remove the bridge abutments. Commissioner Rick Anderson asked whether the river, being a public waterway, wouldn't be under the DNR's jurisdiction instead.
Youngsma said while public waters are the DNR's concern, they don't have as much control of the land around the river as the county does.
Commissioners' consensus was to leave the bridge abutments as they were and to notify neighboring property owners about it.