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Repairs completed at the Shellrock River Greenbelt and Preserve

by Mike Webb, Director, Cerro Gordo County Conservation Board –

20141023_143051This past fall several road repairs were completed in the Shell Rock Greenbelt and Preserve. Repairs were necessary due to past heavy rain and flooding events that damaged several portions of the Greenbelt and Preserve road. The Preserve section sustained the most damage as three areas of the road were damaged enough that vehicle traffic was not safe.

Significant repairs were needed to return the park road to a condition that was safe for vehicle traffic. One of the repairs involved buffering a stream shoreline that was adjacent to the road and eventually crossed the road. The stream had been meandering into the road and diverting its flow around a cement crossing, designed to allow vehicle passage across the stream. The area was repaired with the use of gabion baskets, metal baskets designed to hold rock and prevent erosion. The Cerro Gordo County Conservation Board staff used the gabion baskets to buffer the edge of the stream, preventing it from continuing to flow into the road, and keep its flow over the cement crossing as originally designed. This improvement will allow vehicle traffic to easily cross the creek at the designated crossing location and a foot bridge was installed over the stream to allow foot traffic a dry place to cross.

NCM_0114 (2)The second location requiring repair was a hillside on the road where a large gully had formed. Recent heavy rainfalls had caused the deep gully to form in the road, creating an unsafe situation for vehicles. This area of road was repaired by tearing up the damaged section of road and then reshaping and rebuilding the road and adjacent road shoulders. The new road design will divert excessive amounts of water away from the road and channel it into the surrounding vegetation. This should help prevent gully erosion problems in the future and provide a safe road for vehicle traffic.

The final major road repair involved shifting a small section of road that constantly washed out during river flooding events. This section of road ran adjacent to the river and the excessive current created during flood events would wash away the road. To help alleviate this problem the road was shifted slightly away from the river to higher ground. This repair should keep this section of road out of the main current during flood events.

Other portions of the Greenbelt road had several layers of new gravel placed on it to improve the road surface. The Greenbelt/Preserve park road is always open to foot traffic, bicycles and equestrian use. The park road is normally open to vehicle traffic, licensed passenger motorized vehicles only, from mid May to early December. The Greenbelt/Preserve road is also a designated snowmobile trail and open to snowmobiles during appropriate snow conditions. All users are reminded that all traffic other than foot traffic is restricted to the designated road only. With the current road repairs completed the Greenbelt/Preserve park road should present users with an enjoyable outdoor experience close to home.

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