Humboldt supervisors hear transportation plan

DAKOTA CITY — The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors reviewed MIDAS Council of Governments’ Long Range Transportation Plan at Monday’s meeting.

Shirley Helgevold, MIDAS local assistance manager, brought a draft of the plan to the board.

The plan identifies all transportation projects in the region which are being funded with federal funds over the next four years. The region comprises Calhoun, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Webster and Wright counties. The plan also includes general information on projects through 2039.

“The requirement for our region is every five years we update this plan,” Helgevold said.

The plan is compiled from hard copy and online surveys involving transportation, aviation, public transit, roads and bridges, and trails.

The plan has four goals: to preserve the existing transportation network; promote economic growth through improvements to the transportation network; provide safe, efficient, and economic movement of people and goods within the region; and improve the mobility and accessibility of transportation systems. The plan also identifies regional transportation needs and issues as well as expected costs for upcoming projects.

Board Chairman Bruce Reimers asked how the estimated project costs are arrived at.

The costs are projected out on as much information which is known and an additional 4 percent increase is projected every year, Helgevold said.

“These numbers on here would not stop somebody from applying for something that might cost more. These are just estimates at this day and time,” she said.

Helgevold is presenting the draft at public meetings in every county in the region before the final plan is drafted.

The region receives about $2 million annually in surface transportation block grant funding.

“Most of that goes to roads and bridges,” Helgevold said.

Another $300,000 is received annually which is mostly used for trail projects.

To be eligible for grants, the project must fit with the goals of the plan.

“We projected out that we replace anything between five to seven structures a year and lately we have been paving, on average, about six miles a year,” County Engineer Ben Loots said.

In other business, the county’s comprehensive plan dealing with zoning needs to be updated, Supervisor David Lee said. The plan was drawn up by MIDAS in 1995.

“I think it needs to be brought up to date,” he said. ”There’s a lot of stuff in there that don’t pertain anymore.”

“What we have for zoning, we can’t make heads or tails out of it,” he said.

The board will look into revising the maps.

“That’s a good thing to work on,” Supervisor Erik Underberg said.

Reimers said the mobile food pantry served 115 families last week. The food was gone in little over an hour. The only thing left was a few totes of zucchini. The Humboldt food pantry is changing its hours next week. It will be open Mondays 9 a.m. to noon; Wednesdays 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., and Thursdays 1 to 4 p.m..