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Road work begins near Kabekona Lake in northern Hubbard County

An employee of Aspen Construction begins the process of tree removal along County Road 37 that runs along the south shore of Lake Kabekona. The roadwork has been delayed 20 years due to protests. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Work began this week on County Road 37, a project Kabekona Lake residents have stalled for two decades.

But County Engineer Dave Olsonawski said he "couldn't have found a better contractor" if he'd tried.

Aspen Construction Company of Hackensack has extensive experience working with lakeshore projects. It was awarded the low bid of $1,005,141.31 for the work on County 37.

South Kabekona Lake residents who live along the 5-mile stretch of roadway have protested and delayed the project with environmental concerns.

As Aspen crews began tree removal amid signs of "Save this Tree!" posted on some old pines, there were no protests and no trouble. Crews carefully worked around the trees the residents want saved.

The work will take up much of the rest of the summer as the road is regraded and portions of the scenic highway are moved a few feet for safety reasons.

Much of the roadway will be moved further away from the lake.

In 2003 Aspen was the recipient of an Honorable Mention Award from the City Engineers Association of Minnesota for Project of the Year. The award recognized the firm's work on the Federal Dam Sanitary Sewer Phase II Construction Project.

Aspen has worked with the Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Minnesota DNR and the Department of Transportation, according to its website.

Much of the early work on County 37 entails moving utility lines. Numerous crews from Paul Bunyan Telephone and its line affiliate were on scene moving cables.

The project is scheduled for asphalt paving in 2013.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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