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Joe Friedrichs
County

State auditor shares update

Former Cook County Highway Engineer Krysten Foster is now a district state aid engineer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation. She spoke with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs Feb. 16 about the ongoing discussion happening in Cook County involving the status of local bridges throughout the county.

According to a 2019 Minnesota Department of Transportation bridge survey, more than 22 percent of the bridges on local roadways are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Bridges with this condition status are considered unsafe and a safety hazard, according to Cook County Highway Engineer Robbie Hass.

In Cook County, 13 of the recognized 58 recognized bridges are listed as either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. State officials have the authority to shut down roads where these bridges needing repair are located, Hass mentioned during a committee of the whole work session with the Cook County Board of Commissioners on Jan. 19. The bridges needing repair are dispersed throughout the county, from the Gunflint Trail to the remote roads over creeks that flow toward Lake Superior.

Hass and Josh Dix from the local highway department shared an update with the Cook County Board of Commissioners during a committee of the whole work session Feb. 16. The focus of the discussion was on long-term budget planning.

Foster acknowledged the value, if not necessity, for long-term planning when it comes to addressing the issue with local bridges that need repairs. Listen to the full interview from Feb. 16 below.