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County transportation projects underway for summer

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Dakota County Board Chairman Mike Slavik gave a semi-annual update about county issues to the Farmington City Council last week.

As the summer construction season heats up, Slavik said Dakota County will be busy all season long with construction and more than $70 million in transportation projects across the county in 2017.

Some local projects include:

•Overlay on County Road 80 in Eureka Township

•Crack and seal project on Pilot Knob Road southwest from Hwy. 50 to 74.

•Crack and seal finish at the Farmington Library parking lot

•Work on County Rd. 86 in southern Dakota County

•Major project work at Highways 42 and 52 in Rosemount

“There is a big interchange that is causing backups on Hwy. 42 and 52, as well as a very large project on County Road 86,” Slavik said, “and as you may recall last year we put in the big overpass between at 86 and 52 and County Road 86.”

“Ultimately, over the next four years the road will be going all the way across the county,” he added.

This year’s county project will be work from Randolph Township to Castle Rock. Slavik said the worst part is work being done now on Hwy. 47 to Hwy. 3 and this generates the most calls from residents.

Nitrate concerns

Some work will be done this summer on Hwy. 79 to update the gravel road on Denmark Avenue and there will also be some work on the corner stream in this area.

“This is our first attempt to address the nitrate concerns that are impacting southern Dakota County, and we received a grant from the state natural resources to go in and address that and get a nitrate sponge into all that area that is getting the runoff, and it is going to be absorbed so it is not going to be absorbed by the Vermillion River,” Slavik said.

Mike Slavik This project is part of $1.2 million in state and federal funds that that county can leverage for the Vermillion River, including some projects the county has talked about in the past with the trail system.

Farmington Mayor Todd Larson asked about the nature of the filtration system.

“There is going to be a ponding system and a filtration system, and that is about a half million (dollar) project on its own, coming from different funding sources,” Slavik said.

Farmington City Council member Robyn Craig asked where the nitrates are coming from.

Slavik said nitrates are coming directly from fields.

“The nitrate levels are not very high in the western and southwestern part of the county, however, what happens is that they get into the waterways and they get into the sandier soils of the eastern parts,” Slavik said.

County park news

This year in 2017 marks the 50th anniversary for the Dakota County Parks system.

The county started with an 80-acre parcel at Lebanon Hills Regional Park and now has developed the park into almost 2,000 acres.

The Dakota County park system boasts five regional parks and a county park and more than 5,500 acres of park land for resident to enjoy, Slavik said. Work is underway to develop park visitor and natural resources plans.

“We want to make sure people are using the parks and are using this high quality of land,” he said.

Again this summer, the monthly Music in the Park events will take place on the last Saturday of the month from 6-8 p.m. at Whitetail Woods Regional Park under the band amphitheater. Last year the concerts attracted 200 to 300 guests to the park located between Farmington and Rosemount.

Slavik invited the public to a park grand opening on Saturday, May 20, to celebrate a 4.3 mile segment of the Mississippi River Trail within Spring Lake Park Reserve, west of Hastings.

This trail will connect Hastings to South St. Paul and is part of a long-term parks comprehensive plan and the entire trail system is expected to be complete within two years.