You may have addressed this question before, but if not, could you advise what the city is doing along the west bank of the Zumbro River, south of the Elton Hills bridge? In the last month, large trees have been removed and the path seems to be widened to allow city dump trucks. Is this work being done relating to the upcoming repair of the bridge, or simply to provide a pedestrian path on the west side? -- No Clever Name

Whether your name is clever or not, your question sure seems to be. That project, which started, oh, about a month ago, cleared a whole lot of trees from that west bank. Like you, I'd have thought it was to open a path or provide a staging area for equipment for that bridge project this summer.

The truth, though, is a little deeper than that. And I mean literally.

Megan Moeller, from the city's Public Works Department, relayed this message from a member of the city's Infrastructure Maintenance team to one of my helpers, who relayed it to me. It said:

"We were clearing along the sanitary sewer easement that is on the west bank. It is normal to clear all trees and brush from above a sanitary sewer line in an easement so that we can both maintain truck and equipment access to the manholes as well as keep tree roots away."

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So there you have the answer to the question, as well as a reminder of why it's best not to assume the answers simply from what your eyes tell you. Always ask. And meanwhile, we do have a nice, new path along the other side of the Zumbro.

You ask, I answer. Send questions for the Answer Man to answerman@postbulletin.com.