OTC road projects wrapping up for 2023

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

A motion on Oct. 10 by County Commissioner Dan Bucholz of Perham and seconded by Commissioner Bob Lahman of Parkers Prairie passed unanimously to authorize county highway department employees to use county vehicles for commuting during the winter months for check-ing road conditions.

Commuting is beneficial to Otter Tail County and the employees save time by heading di-rectly to the areas where attention is needed.

“Heading to the shop or office first to get a county vehicle can add another 1-2 hours to the employee’s day,” noted Buchholz.

Adds Lahman, “Heading to the shop or office first also can lead to 18-hour days, raising a safety concern for adequate rest and time at home for county employees.”

County highway department update

County Engineer Krysten Foster provided a brief Otter Tail County Highway Department update. Among the highlights Foster noted:

• Highway 51 north of Perham resurfacing is underway as is the Pelican Rapids garage access road.

• The Highway 45 bridge deck near Phelps Mill has been poured and expected to reopen to traffic near the end of October

• Highway 35 aggregate placement was delayed a few days following the Sept. 23 rain-fall. An updated completion date will be provided at a later date.

• Apex Engineering received the railroad permit to complete paving for Highway 67 in the Henning area.

Pelican Rapids trailhead plan

Otter Tail County Parks and Trails Director Kevin Fellbaum provided the county board of commissioners with an update on the trailhead for the Pelican Rapids segment of the Heart of the Lakes Trail.

Otter Tail County has entered into a partnership with the Pelican Rapids School District and the City of Pelican Rapids for usage of the bathroom facilities at the newly constructed bath-room/concession/warming house facility being built near the Pelican Rapids football field. 

What was once referred to as the Pelican Rapids to Perham Recreational Trail is now the Heart of the Lakes Regional Trail.

A trailhead will be a part of the Pelican Rapids facility with bike racks, bike fix-it station and a wayfinding kiosk along with the ability for trail users to utilize the bathrooms within the new building. 

Fellbaum will work with the school district and the city to establish a memorandum of un-derstanding regarding future maintenance and upkeep of the facilities. County commissioners authorized payment of the invoice for Otter Tail County’s contri-bution of $50,000 as presented by Parks and Trails Director Fellbaum.