Other trail repairs planned for 2021 | News, Sports, Jobs

HOUGHTON — Further repairs are planned for Department of Natural Resources trails damaged in the Father’s Day flood.

Houghton County Commissioner Glenn Anderson, who attended a DNR presentation at a recent Houghton County Recreation Authority meeting, provided an update at the county council meeting on Tuesday.

The Dollar Bay note in Lake Linden is expected to be offered in March or April, Anderson said. Estimated at $8 million, the project will be tendered in six tranches due to its size.

“Depending on how the offers come in and how busy the contractor is, it may or may not be finished (this year), but at least the hope is that it would be available to reopen for the snowmobile season,” he said.

Hancock’s OHM, which is the design contractor, is 90% complete with engineering plans from last year, Anderson said.

Most of the work on the Houghton-Chassell level was completed as part of a $500,000 project last year. Two culverts and two mouths still need to be repaired and should be repaired this spring. The DNR is planning a groundbreaking ceremony once the work is complete, which is expected to take place in May or June, Anderson said.

Work has not yet started on the Freda trail. MNR hired an engineer to inspect the Salmon Trout River Bridge to see what damage was done during the flood.

The Baraga-Arnheim trail is under contract for flood repair. Contracts have also been drawn up for the construction of the Carp River railway trestle near Keweenaw Bay. Engineering is also complete for a bridge over the Sturgeon River Swamps. This offer should be awarded this spring.

“The trail, at least from Baraga to Chassell for the DNR trail, should be open for next winter, based on these two action items,” he said, while noting that snowmobilers would not yet be able to connect to trails leading to Painesdale or Twin Lakes. “It will be a one way route, a return route, but at least there is progress to be made on that.”

A brand new trail may also be in the works. The Township of Franklin will hold a public presentation at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at City Hall on a potential non-motorized trail following the Mineral Range Railroad grade between Hancock and Lake Linden.

“It could be quite interesting, considering that the DNR has started a discussion on this possible project”, said Vice President Tom Tikkanen.

Other county reports:

– Tikkanen said the county transfer station diverted more than 20 tons of recyclables from landfill in its first year. He also thanked State Senator Ed McBroom and State Representative Greg Markkanen for their work securing a $250,000 grant from Calumet to clean up the Fifth Street fire site. He also met with Markkanen over the holidays for preliminary discussions on a second bridge over the Portage Canal.

– Building Inspector Todd LaRoux reported on building permits over the past year. In 2021, the county issued 392 building permits (compared to 293 in 2020) with a construction cost of $46.7 million, compared to just over $33 million in 2020. One hundred and fifteen of the permits were for homes; in 2020, that number was 43. The total number of electrical, mechanical, and plumbing permits increased from 1,055 to 1,206. The number of new addresses created for the 911 system nearly doubled, from 75 to 144.

– Clerk and Registry of Deeds Jennifer Kelly said the number of concealed gun licenses rose from 392 in 2017 to 741 in 2021. Kelly has performed 49 weddings in the past year, a personal best.

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Clifton L. Boyd