County Considers Rebuilding Roads

When Saline County’s Road and Bridge Department’s Director Gary Nash speaks of maintaining the county’s 717 miles of gravel roads, he also includes maintaining 1,434 miles of ditches along with 6,000 culverts, 850 small structures, 235 bridges and 6,500 signs.

Nash said some roads need more maintenance, based on traffic counts, weights of truck loads, erosion and flood water damage, and farming practices.

Nash reviewed distinctions between maintaining, rebuilding and reconstructing roads. Based on road conditions and traffic counts, Nash identified a five year plan to specifically reconstruct these roads at a cost of $250,000-500,000/mile:

  • West Water Well Road (between Burma and Lightville), 1 mile
  • South Ohio (between Water Well Road and Mentor), 2 miles
  • East Water Well Road (from the Smoky River bridge to Holmes Road), ½ mile
  • North Ohio (from Humburger Road to the Ottawa County line), 1.5 miles
  • Thatcher Road (from Ohio to Crystal Springs), 1.5 miles (this earthen road would be upgraded to a gravel road)

Continuing with this five year plan, Nash proposed rebuilding, at a cost of $75,000/mile:

  • Tyler Road, 1 mile
  • Sundgren Road, 4 miles
  • Simpson Road (from Magnolia to Water Well), 2 miles
  • Holmes Road (from Country Club to Magnolia), 3 miles
  • Water Well (from Lightville to Powers), 4 miles

The amount of work Nash would like to do would necessitate hiring one additional driver and adding $600,000 more a year to R&B’s budget. Naming specific sections of roads prompted spirited discussions from some Commissioners.

Chairman Monte Shadwick said the presentation “Helped me frame the conversation of how much money is needed. This is one of the most important things this County does.”

Link Road Improvements

Residents on Link Road had approached Commissioner Dave Smith about the possibility that the residents themselves might purchase gravel to put on that road. Commissioners discussed the possibility of choosing to maintain this road, amending a 1998 road maintenance policy, or not getting involved because they had no formal request from these constituents. Using a road maintenance manual, Nash speculated the road might need 6” of aggregate. This translates into 1,600 tons of rock, as a delivered cost of $18.30+ a ton, or $30,000 for a mile. One point of disagreement was whether property owners, who may individually pay $8,000 a year in property taxes “should get something” for that money. County Administrator Rita Deister replied that they get law enforcement as well as emergency management—along with all the other services every County resident receives.

Animal Control Update

In 2015, Animal Control dealt with 252 calls from the county that dealt with 91 cats, 158 dogs and 3

horses. Of these, 123 animals were adopted, 55 were reclaimed, 24 were adopted, 14 had euthanasia

requests and 36 were euthanized. In the City, 75% of animals are reclaimed by owners, while in the

County, less than 45% are reclaimed.

Commissioners also:

  • Approved using CARE grant funds to have the K-State Extension Service produce a video about
  • radon mitigation processes.
  • Re-accepted bids for a mower deck and oil trailer.
  • Authorized the Health Department to submit grants for existing programs.
  • Read a proclamation from the Governor declaring March 21-25 Flood Awareness Week.

There were four executive sessions, totaling about one hour. The Building Authority met for an hour as well. Commissioner Luci Larson did not attend the last hour of the meeting.