On Nov. 26 a bill came due, to the tune of $1.8 million, for county road work that included aggregate base work, bituminous resurfacing, paving of road shoulders, curb and gutter work and pedestrian ramps.

Otter Tail County is larger in size than the state of Rhode Island, and paved roads total 1,062 miles. This keeps the county highway department very busy.

“The backbone of the highway system in Otter Tail County requires lots of financial investment,” said county Engineer Chuck Grotte. “County residents who have attended public meetings in previous months have expressed their desire for their roadways to be maintained at the highest level.”

The proposed county road and bridge budget for 2020 is $46.4 million.

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Grotte says that augmenting 2020 roadway funding from county taxpayers through next year’s levy will include state and federal assistance as well as $20 license tab fees and a half-cent sales tax in Otter Tail County.

More about county highway department

An engineering section of the Otter Tail County Highway Department, headed by Grotte, has a staff of nine people.

They are responsible for inspections, engineering design and construction of highway and bridge projects. This section also provides technical support to other county departments.

The maintenance section of the county highway department, also headed by Grotte, includes 33 individuals who provide routine maintenance services to the highways and bridges throughout Otter Tail County.

These maintenance operations are divided into five maintenance areas which contain a total of 10 garages in various sections of the county.