The Sturgeon River is federally designated as a 'wild and scenic river.' There are concerns regarding erosion and how close it is to the county road.
A joint meeting was held Tuesday in the Delta County Courthouse. It was a meeting of the Delta County Road Commission and the Delta County Board of Commissioners. The issue at stake is whether or not to relocate 2,700 feet of County Road 497.
â??The road is an important road because it provides emergency service access to Nahma, from the fire and ambulance station on one end to the village of Nahma on the other end," says David Silvieus, District Ranger for the Hiawatha National Forest.
The road was paid for with federal funds in 2008. But to move the road to the west by 120 feet would cost between $450,000 to $500,000.
â??Let's use some common sense out there,â?? says Rory Mattson, Executive Director with the Delta Conservation District. â??Letâ??s not just spend millions of dollars of taxpayer money to do something that, to me, is just one of the most ridiculous things Iâ??ve heard in the last few years. And I've heard of a lot of ridiculous things coming from government."
The Sturgeon River's waters are threatening to undercut the road, and there's visible evidence of what's happening. Big trees have already toppled into the water from recent heavy storms. There are also concerns that the waterâ??s encroachment may cause unsafe road usage in a few years.
Nahma resident and business owner, Charley MacIntosh, is against relocating the road.
â??The easy fix would be to fix the erosion with rip rap instead of moving the road," says MacIntosh.
Other alternatives include reinforcing the bank with plant material and logs, modified relocation, and making a meander cut-off with an excavator. All of these proposed alternatives are estimated to cost over $400,000. Officials hope to make a decision by January 2013.