Otter Tail County Transportation Plan

Otter Tail, Minnesota

Otter Tail County is a large rural County with an extensive county highway system of nearly 1100 miles. The County Board, as responsible stewards of this major public asset, wished to address pavement and bridge needs before a crisis arose.

The County Board selected SRF to prepare its first County transportation plan, with a focus on system preservation solutions. The transportation plan examined the typical County issues, existing conditions, goals and objectives, traffic forecasts, operation analysis, future system plan, system management policies, etc. In addition, SRF undertook a unique system preservation analysis. SRF, using its preservation sketch tool, investigated the county’s pavement preservation performance and discovered the County was underinvesting in preservation activities by nearly $11 million per year. SRF examined a number of preservation strategies, that if implemented, will significantly improve the pavement and bridge conditions and reduce the financial gap.

Additionally, an innovative funding scenario analysis was completed. Eight funding scenarios were examined and the maintenance impacts to the county highway maintenance system were evaluated to 2025.

The recommended system preservation actions and a prioritized project list were incorporated into the plan’s detailed implementation program.

From the positive outcomes of the preservation analysis and the strong public support for a comprehensive preservation program, the County Commission adopted the plan and approved a half-cent County sales tax and a wheelage tax (generating  approximately $5 million per year in increased revenue, all dedicated soley to highways). This new revenue and actions on the other recommended preservation strategies will significantly reduce the County’s overall projected preservation gap.

Client:

Otter Tail County