By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

County residents who have attended public meetings in previous months have expressed their desire for their roadways to be maintained at the highest level. Doing so requires lots of money.

Factoring in road resurfacing, reconstruction and adding in bridge replacements results in millions of dollars.

The county board of commissioners, on May 23, approved the low bid of $3,092,360 for seal coating supplies. Seal coating for roads are bituminous surface treatments designed to preserve and protect roadways.

“We normally apply a seal coat three years after a road is surfaced or resurfaced,” says County Engineer Chuck Grotte. “We expect the seal coat approved on May 23 by the county board to last seven to 10 years, depending on the traffic.”

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.

“We often mention that the backbone of our highway system in Otter Tail County requires lots of financial investment,” says Grotte.

County roadway funding comes from county taxpayers through the annual levy, $20 license tab fees and a half cent sales tax in Otter Tail County. Additional road money comes from the state and federal government which has been limited in recent years.

An engineering section of the Otter Tail County Highway Department, headed by Grotte, is responsible for inspections, engineering design and construction of highways and bridge projects. This section also provides technical support to other county departments.