The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

June 18, 2013

T-15 may close for three months

Knoxville — The construction of the hydroelectric plant near the Red Rock Dam is expected to include road closures, including the possibility of T-15 being closed for 12 weeks. 

Marion County Engineer Roger Schletzbaum reported to the Marion County Board of Supervisors this morning on the progress that has been made between the County and Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) regarding preliminary agreements before construction begins on the power plant. MRES has been granted permission from the US Army Corps of Engineers to construct such a facility at Lake Red Rock. The City of Pella has already switched its electrical service to MRES. 

Schletzbaum has been in negotiations with MRES for over a year and he believes they have reached a good preliminary agreement and is ready to move onto the legal phase of a formal contract. 

As part of the agreement, MRES is expected to reimbursed the County for depreciation of local roads. Heavy truck traffic is expected on some of these which will require repair more quickly. A formula has been created, based upon traffic counts. 

Road closures are expected when construction begins. A provision will exist within the County's agreement with MRES that a route must be made to allow residents to get to affected homes. The closure of T-15 is expected when MRES cuts into the dam to build a "cut-off wall," according to Schletzbaum.

MRES Spokesman Bill Radio did not have enough information regarding the issues discussed this morning. More is expected to be heard from him next week.

Though Schletzbaum has been working to address possible concerns during the project, he said there are issues that may be "unavoidable." 

Marion County Attorney Ed Bull said the County wants to be compliance on its end of the agreement, but not enough details are available to have a firm agreement yet. The general contractor or how the company intends to build are still unknown. He suggested that Schletzbaum return to MRES with the message that the County is proceeding to legal phase of their contract negotiations. 

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