By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent 

The Star Lake bridge replacement and the new Otter Tail County garage in Pelican Rapids are two Otter Tail County projects slated for completion this fall.

The approximate $1 million Star Lake area bridge, on Highway 41, was necessitated by an arson incident more than two years ago. A detour has re-directed traffic all summer.

The county garage in Pelican will consolidate two existing satellite locations, in Vergas and Erhard. 

Following is a summary of county highway projects, other projects, and tentative completion dates as provided by County Engineer Charles Grotte to the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners on Sept. 13.

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.

Grotte says that 2022 roadway funding comes from county taxpayers through property taxes, $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,” Grotte says.

An engineering section of the Otter Tail County Highway Department, headed by Grotte, has a staff of nine people.

They are responsible for inspections, engineering design, and construction of highways and bridge projects. This section also provides technical support to other county departments.

The maintenance section of the county highway department, also headed by Grotte, includes 33 individuals who provide routine maintenance services to the highways and bridges throughout Otter Tail County.

These maintenance operations are divided into five maintenance areas which contain a total of 10 garages in various sections of the county.

2022 highway resurfacing

• Highway 8, from Highway 80 in Perham to Highway 53, tentative completion date is Oct. 14, 2022.

• Highway 58, from Highway 67 near New York Mills to Highway 19, tentative completion date was Aug. 26, 2022.

• Highway 67, from Highway 50 north of Henning to Highway 54, tentative completion date was Sept. 2, 2022.

2022 highway reconstruction

• Highway 92 in far eastern section of Otter Tail County, close to the new Tri-County Hospital, tentative completion date is Nov. 1, 2022

Bridge and culvert work

• Highway 35 bridge replacement at West Lost Lake, completed

• Highway 41 bridge replacement at Star Lake.

• Highway 112 culvert replacement, southwest of Fergus Falls and west of Dalton, tentative completion date is late September.

Highway garages work

• Battle Lake garage and county sign shop, tentative completion date is Nov. 15, 2022

• Pelican Rapids garage, tentative completion date is Nov. 15, 2022

• Pelican Rapids salt storage county facility, tentative completion date is fall 2022