Answer Man: Do rich and powerful live along County Road 25?
Dear Answer Man, I drive Olmsted County Road 25 between County Road 22 (History Center) and Salem Corners nearly every day. I've done this for much of the last 40 years. In the last 10-15 years, it has been:
• Rebuilt, regraded or resurfaced;
• Paved with concrete;
• Shoulder paved;
• Reinforced with rebar at every joint;
• All breakouts sawed out and replaced (maybe twice);
• Shaved smooth;
• And now they're working on it again.
This is FAR MORE than ANY other county road I've ever seen around here or anywhere else, and much more than any other state or U.S. highway anywhere around. I wish U.S. 14 had such good care.
Why? Who lives out this way that merits such service for their road? It's surely not for me, although it is nice to have.
Thanks for digging. — Carl Rolfs
Another reader also asked about the new work on County Road 25, though with less documentation than Carl.
If you're implying that I live on CR 25, Carl, and the county is making sure my daily path to the world headquarters of the Post-Bulletin is paved with gold, you're wrong. I live just a hop, skip and a jump away from my desk so I'm always at your service. And I'm not aware of a county poobah who lives along that road, but tell me if you know of one.
Actually, here's the other letter I received, which gets at the tax angle.
Dear Answer Man, my husband and I drove on Olmsted County Road 25 a few weeks ago and noticed huge rolls of material along the road. Obviously there's going to be some type of action soon. What is being planned? I certainly hope that the road isn't going to be repaved or have maintenance on it. County Road 25 is in very good condition compared with several other county roads. I hate to see my tax dollars being wasted, so I'm hoping there's something that's really needed being done there. -- Concerned Taxpayer, Rochester
According to Scott Holmes, transportation supervisor with Olmsted County Public Works, the project was needed.
He says the road was initially paved in 1982 and received a makeover, with installation of dowel bars on the outside edge of each lane, in about 2000. Then they ground down the surface to make for a smoother ride.
So far, Scott's tale seems to match up with Carl's.
Then there was some deterioration in the joints between slabs, so the county had to decide between a partial repair or a complete overlay. They chose the latter, so now they're doing a 6-inch concrete overlay from Salem Corners to West Circle Drive. The highway is closed to through traffic and a detour will take you through some of Olmsted County's most beautiful countryside, along County Roads 3, 34 and 22.
The main road is pretty much done, Scott says, and they're now paving the shoulders as well. Since they're raising the road surface about six inches, they also have to add some elevation to the driveways and field approaches. That work won't be finished until next year, but the road itself will likely reopen in about a month.
How much will it cost taxpayers? $3.7 million. I'll link to the latest information on the county website.