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Ottertail looks at future street improvements

An update on road conditions in the city of Ottertail was recently provided for the city council.

Lee Sherman, Ottertail maintenance supervisor, ranked various roads in the city as being in good, fair, or poor condition. Sherman's assessment of the roads was complied as of June 2010. The council will use this list in determining which roads should be prioritized when the city moves forward with its street improvement project.

Sherman's findings are as follows.

-Black top roads in good condition include: Lynn Road, Donalds Road, Maple Avenue, Shores Road, Buchanan Road, Bay View Road, River View Road, Otter Drive, and Lake Avenue South. These roads are ready for sealcoating.

-Black top roads in fair condition include: Three Lakes Road, Long Boulevard, Long Street, West Avenue, and Portage Road. These roads are beyond sealcoating. The next step is a 1 ½ inch overlay when needed.

-Black top roads in poor condition include: China Street, Ottertail Avenue, Elevator Drive, Lake Avenue North, Elm Street, Oak Street, First Street, Second Street, West Lake, East Lake, North Lake Boulevard, and East Lake Boulevard. These roads need to be replaced. Sherman's advisement was to repair them only when safety is a concern.

As for the city's gravel roads, 20 loads of class 5 were added this week on Park Circle. Pelican Road, Wallenberg Drive, Arvilla Drive, Pottery Drive, Sunset Drive, Willow Road, Sawmill Road, Lueders Road, Hilltop Road, and Jackson Avenue will receive ongoing maintenance as needed.

After going over Sherman's recommendations, the council asked Sherman to obtain some prices for fixing the roads. The council will review these numbers and make a decision on what roads to tackle first at their next meeting, set for 7 a.m. on Thursday, July 1.

"We're basically dealing with the better roads first," Ottertail City Clerk/Treasurer Elaine Hanson explained of the city's approach to the street improvements. "We might as well keep up the roads that we can."

Hanson said it is estimated that five to seven years after a road is constructed, the road needs to be sealcoated again. With Ottertail not being a high traffic area, the city figures that sealcoating at seven years should be satisfactory. In keeping some of the city's newer roads in good condition, the city will ultimately save money by avoiding the much larger cost of replacing roads.

Unfortunately, some of the city's streets are well past the seven-year mark, and need to be completely rebuilt. The council's plan is to continue to set aside money in the budget for road repairs, and review the road situation on a yearly basis.