by Dennis Dalman
The Sartell Park Commission is pondering what to do with some sections of trails in the city that have badly deteriorated.
Most of the damage, caused mainly by willow roots, is making the trails unsafe.
The board will report back to the Sartell City Council at one of its upcoming meetings.
City staff has a priorities list of the most seriously damaged trail sections. There are four of them: a trail section north of Grizzly Lane and one south of Grizzly Lane in The Wilds neighborhood, the 2-1/2 Street trail connection and the Regional Medical Arts Trail.
The length of the trail sections vary, but all are under 1,000 feet.
At the last city council meeting, city engineer Jeremy Mathiasen showed slides of the trails. The surfaces are cracked and crumbling with weeds sprouting from the cracks. Trail sections next to ponds are especially vulnerable because willows, which grow as fast and rampant as weeds, send roots under the trails, which can rapidly ruin the asphalt.
The cost of repairs to the trail vary from $3,000 to as high as $70,000. However, there are several options to consider, Mathiasen noted. One is to abandon some parts of the trails — the lesser used ones, such as the trail section south of Grizzly Lane. Another option is to use concrete instead of bituminous surfacing, which would save money in the long run, as a concrete trail can last up to 20 years or more. Yet another option is to redesign the trails when they are being fixed to make them narrower – say, 8 feet instead of 10 feet. The city could also consider relocating some sections away from vegetation or using a product called Bio-Barrier that forces roots to grow away from the asphalt.
After the Sartell Park Commission studies the options, it will recommend solutions to the city council.