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Citizens unhappy with damaged roads

County Highway Superintendent Rick Hartley isn’t putting all the blame for northeast Codington County’s damaged roads on wind energy developers.

“It’s a combination of everything,” Hartley said Tuesday morning. “We’re coming off two of the wettest years in history, and all the hauling done last fall.”

Amber Christenson resides in the area where wind towers have been erected, and she sent the Public Opinion photos of the damage. She said the condition of 126th Street between 464th and 465th avenues is the worse she’s seen in the 26 years she’s lived in the area.

“The (wind) developer came with promises to the county of how much better the roads would be because they keep them up and repair them,” wrote Christenson. “As you can see, that is not so.”

Tuesday morning Hartley told county commissioners that Blattner Energy of Avon, Minn. would soon be removing the damaged asphalt and replacing it temporarily with gravel. Blattner did the tower construction.

“I can take you around the rest of the county and there are spots that are the same way,” Hartley said during a telephone interview. He explained that until the frost is fully removed from the ground, more permanent repairs can’t be done.

He also said the hot mix asphalt needed for resurfacing is currently not available in the area. He said Duininck Excavating and Road Construction of Watertown, a supplier of hot mix, is currently offline due to work at its plant. And supplier Bituminous Paving of Ortonville won’t have hot mix ready until early next month.

“I don’t think you can get any hot mix until around the first of May,” he said. “It’s just one of those deals where we’re out of season.”

Hartley said Blattner Energy will be paying for all reconstruction of the damaged surfaces it used on the Crowned Ridge Wind Project. Repairs in other areas will be paid from county coffers.