A trucking company is seeking permission from the Lake County Board of Commissioners to continue hauling on a county road during spring weight restrictions to keep the Duluth Lakewalk reconstruction project on schedule.
Shelley Holmes, owner of Mahkahta Trucking, as well as Benny Urban, a representative from Duluth Ready Mix and Mike LeBeau construction project supervisor for the City of Duluth, gave a presentation at the board's regular action meeting on Tuesday, March 10.
In November, the Duluth City Council authorized the purchase of more than 76,000 tons of boulders to armor the storm wall of the last section of the Lakewalk to be repaired following damage from 2017 and 2018 storms.
The stone is to be supplied by Rachel Contracting Inc. of St Michael. It was subcontracted out to Duluth Ready Mix and will be hauled by Mahkahta Trucking. The quarry is located on Boomers Road off County Road 2 on the outskirts of Two Harbors.
The first 25,500 tons are scheduled for delivery by May 31, but due to delays over the winter, Holmes said the company will not meet that deadline if not allowed to continue hauling during the 6-8 weeks of weight restrictions.
"Restrictions go in place on Friday [March 13]," Holmes said. "In order to stay on the timeline to get that all hauled in, in the best interest of everybody, we’d need to be able to haul on Boomers Road during road restrictions. Duluth Ready Mix and Rachel Contracting are willing to repair the road and provide equipment to repair the road."
Urban said Duluth Ready Mix will end up producing a lot of class five material while producing the boulders for the project and he's willing to use the material to repair the road.
"Basically we don’t want you to have to fix the road and send us a bill for $200,000," Urban said. "If the road does start getting bad, then we can be done for a week, fix it right then."
Board chair Rich Sve asked how the companies missed the weight restriction limits in planning for this project.
Holmes said the companies were aware of the restrictions, but didn't think they would be delayed as much by winter weather.
"We thought we’d be hauling a lot more prior to then (the deadline)," Holmes said.
The other issue, Holmes said, was that the City of Duluth sought permission from the Minnesota Department of Transportation for permission to haul on Interstate 35 and other roads on the route but hadn't covered this link in the chain.
"And that was frustrating because, for us, it's the most important part of the route," Holmes said.
Commissioner Rick Goutermont expressed concerns about the road conditions.
"My concern is that the damage that the Lakewalk is dealing with gets transferred to Lake County. And their project gets done and they're gone and we’re left holding the bag," Goutermont said.
Goutermont and County Administrator Matt Huddleston suggested a sub-committee meet later in the week to discuss the issue further and bring in both the county highway engineer and county attorney. A date and time had not been set as of press time.