Work Abruptly Stops on County Bridge

A Saline County bridge project has abruptly came to a stop.

In April, the Saline County  Commission accepted a bid from L&M Contractors to replace a bridge on County Club Road, immediately east of Gypsum Valley Road.  On Monday, L&M crew and subcontractor Johnson Farms were ready to start work; they had brought in a construction trailer and deployed excavators.  Yesterday, Vidricksen halted the process.  He was concerned about the timing of the 60+ day project and fall harvest.

County Engineer Neil Cable provided a re-cap of processes to date.  With the work halted, the County will be responsible for some $3,771 in start-up costs.  Additionally, Road and Bridge will store purchased rebar.  Cable said L&M Contractors had been ready to start in April, but there were concerns that an early start would interfere with wheat harvest.  Cable said work on the bridge would need to be completed before APAC shuts down its asphalt facility in early to mid-December.  He said there are no guarantees on future concrete prices.  Cable said that there is no guarantee when L&M Contractors would re-start the project.

Phil Van Court, Facilities Business Manager for Scoular’s, spoke of safety concerns if the work were allowed to proceed during harvest.  Tom Kelly, a Dickinson County farmer, spoke of the impact of low commodity prices, on a low quality crop, and then having to cope with delays as truckers navigate closed roads.

Weese said, “The horse is out of the barn”.  He moved that Cable let L&M Contractors give Cable a future date to complete the project.  Motion carried, 4-1 with Rodger Sparks voting against the motion.

In Other Matters


  • Appointed Carol Viar to fill a vacancy in the Central Kansas Mental Health Center’s Board.
  • Approved the lease of a 1997 International 7300 with 1000 gallon tank, pump, and equipment for Rural Fire District #5, which will make a $14,000 down payment and finance $126,000.
  • Approved the carryover of $528,121 from the 2017 community correction’s adult services budget and $228,771 from the 2017 community corrections juvenile services budgets. According to Community Corrections Director Annie Grevas, some of the carryover will be used to pay for a 65% increase in the agency’s rent.  The Commission also approved the department’s year end outcomes; this report can be found at
  • Heard an update from County Treasurer Jim DuBois about the tasks involved and costs of using postal sorters to prepare and send property tax notifications.
  • Heard Planning and Zoning Director David Neal describe the Westar plat; since the drainage of storm water from the city is within one mile of county property, the County must approve the plat as well as the City. This matter will formally come before the County Commission next week.
  • Reviewed sales from the EXPO Center from January 1 to September 15 for both 2016 and 2017. Deister estimated that the EXPO Center generates income that is 21% of budgeted expenses (of $339,327 in 2017’s fiscal year).
  • Were reminded of the necessity that the board’s actions result from decisions made at convened board meetings, and not from actions initiated by individual commissioners.
  • Met in executive session regarding a confidential data exemption.
  • Heard updates from members attending the Salina Airport Authority, the Tri-Rivers Fair Board, that morning’s Building Authority meeting, and the joint City-County meeting on a possible future lease of the EXPO Center.
  • Discussed moving the regular commission meeting on Tuesday, November 14th to Monday, November 13th, to accommodate both the canvassing of November 7th’s vote and to attend the Kansas Association of Counties convention on the 14th, 15th and 16th.

City-County Building Authority Met

The City-County Building, on 300 W Ash, will get a new roof.  Ryan’s Roofing provided the low bid of $272,800; the work will be overseen by DMA Architects, bringing total costs to $282,200.  Building Supervisor Duane Grace said he has already received $244,373 in insurance monies, with the possibility that additional money will be forthcoming.  Work is projected to start in October.  The new roof will have a 20 year warranty.

The Board also gave approval to Salina’s Public Works Director Jim Kowach to permanently eliminate the Ash Street entrance to the Building Authority’s parking lot.  That lot will continue to have access on 7th Street (just north of the Cox business).  The City plans to convert Ash Street from five lanes to three, and plans to allow angled parking on the south side of Ash and parallel parking on the north side of Ash.  The move is anticipated to create additional parking for the Salina Fieldhouse.  Kowach said, “We’re hoping downtown is bustling and finding a parking place is a challenge.”

The Board reviewed a proposal to restore aspects of the City-County Building and property.  The Board directed Grace to seek at least another qualified bidder, before the Board takes up the matter again.


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