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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Road districts use summer to tackle projects

Friday, August 14, 2009

Purdy, Freistatt and Pierce City road district commissioners meeting this month have been reviewing various summer work projects.

The Pierce Special Road District put down five miles of chip and seal surfacing in July. According to foreman Mike Koenig, only three major projects were tackled this year.

Crews from Hutchens Construction, working under a contract awarded by the county, laid chip and seal on Farm Road 2240, between Farm Roads 1020 and the Newton County line, and on Farm Road 2212 between Farm Road 1040 and Highway PP. Both were two-mile stretches.

In addition, crews laid chip and seal on one mile of Farm Road 1020 between Farm Road 2230 on the south and Farm Road 2240.

Koenig said the district was able to able to put chip and seal on eight miles of roads last year for the cost of five this year. Last year, road work cost $9,600 a mile, and this year it cost $12,000.

Oil for road work cost $1 a gallon more than a year ago and gravel cost more. The only expense that did not rise was the cost of hauling gravel from the quarry. Koenig said district leaders were pleased with the work done by Hutchens Construction.

The Freistatt Special Road District is waiting for Blevins Asphalt to complete a blading on of asphalt, which should be done in the next week or so. Road Commissioner Herman Lehde Jr. said crews have hand patched road problems around the district and identified "something on most miles" that will receive a bladed-on repair.

"The work is random and pretty extensive," Lehde said.

Additional work will depend on how much money is left after the blade-on work is finished. No roads have yet been selected for chip and sealing, Lehde said. The district still has two miles of dirt roads that are not scheduled for surfacing this year.

"We're maintaining the roads we have as best we can. We're not doing anything grand and glorious this year," Lehde said.

In January, the district received its budget from the county commissioners based on projections of sales tax revenue for the year. Lehde said he took 10 percent off the projected amount immediately. With sales tax income running 10 to 13 percent off last year, Lehde said his conservative assessment has been on target.

Available funds have also impacted the Purdy Special Road District. Foreman Marvin Carney said the district put down about seven miles of chip and seal last year and will do close to three and a half this year.

"We've done a lot of patching instead of big projects," said Carney.

Roads built for cars have been breaking up under truck traffic, particularly due to clay pockets that crews are digging out and filling. Carney said a stretch of Farm Road 1087, between Farm Roads 2070 and 1095, got so bad that crews tore out the old road and rebuilt it a foot higher with a four-inch base.

Crews still have about four projects approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to finish by September due to storm damage from May 2008. One road not finished last year got flooded then was torn up by heavy traffic from loggers. The loggers have nearly finished, Carney said, at which point the road district team will move in to chip and seal.

The work list includes installation of railing on three bridges installed last winter on Farm Roads 1070, 1057 and 1055. Carney said the county will be replacing the bridge on Farm Road 1070, between Farm Roads 2060 and 2070 around October 1. The road will be closed for two to four weeks while construction is underway, Carney said.

Crews are also working on road widening involving brush and tree removal. The district has asked farmers to temporarily take out fences so crews can clear out brush and reduce some of the shade that keeps roads from drying.

Areas targeted for road widening and tree removal include: a quarter mile of Farm Road 1065, south of Farm Road 2090 and north of Highway B; west on Farm Road 2090 from Farm Road 1065; and three-quarters of a mile on Farm Road 1075, south of Highway B.

The roads slated for chip and seal work include: the south end of Farm Road 1120; a section of Farm Road 1085 between Farm Roads 2090 and 2100; Farm Road 2060 to the west one mile from Highway 37; and Farm Road 1087 between Farm Roads 2070 and 1095.

"The amount of repairs we're doing is not unusual," Carney said. "We've had so many places to patch that we're not going to do as much chip and seal as we typically do. We've got the same amount of roads, but the cost of material has tripled. We've scaled back some help and the miles we're chip and sealing to make things stretch as far as we can.

"We've hired some part-time help when we've needed it for a day or two at a time," Carney said. "There are people out there who need a job. That's made it a little easier. We've got one boy who just patches roads. You won't find too many people who will work for minimum wage and shovel asphalt all day long. We're trying to keep him around."

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