The Wright County Highway Department was the recipient of a prestigious award from the Minnesota Asphalt Paving Association (MAPA) as a road project from 2020 was deemed the best in the state by a MAPA review panel.
Wright County Highway Engineer Virgil Hawkins said the presentation of the award was delayed due to COVID-19 protocols, but he was able to find something positive out of a year that didn’t have many of them.
“I’m happy to report to you this morning that something good happened in 2020,” Hawkins said. “That something good involved 9.74 miles of County Highway 8 between Maple Lake and Hasty. That something good was a 2020 Merit Award for outstanding work performed on Highway 8. (It was) judged to be the best in the state in the Rural State Aid Resurface category.”
Only one such award is given out each year and the competition is fierce. The Rural State Aid Resurface category gets the most submitted nominations as any category and to be selected out of that group is an impressive achievement.
MAPA Associate Director Brandon Brever praised the work done by those in the road construction industry because, while many businesses were shut down or severely restricted in 2020, the construction industry never stopped.
“Our roads are a very important part of the infrastructure of our country, yet they’re often times underappreciated,” Brever said. “Roads are about freedom – the freedom to move from Point A to B, to get to work and to bring your children to school. This particular highway was constructed during the peak of the global pandemic. While many businesses were shutting down and people were working from home, the road construction industry continued to provide essential services to Minnesota.”
Knife River Inc. was the construction firm in charge of the project and Hawkins thanked members of his staff who were instrumental to the success of the project, including Engineering Tech II Bryan Hendricks, Engineering Tech I Andrew Lechelt, Sign Technician Stephen Boisclair and Consustion Engineer Kevin Johnson.