Sups approve five year project plan

A tentative list of road and bridge projects that the county plans to tackle over the next five years has been set.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors, the board approved their Department of Transportation budget for the 2015 fiscal year. Hamilton County Engineer Danny Waid said that budget mirrors the previously approved secondary road budget. They also approved a five-year plan which outlined upcoming transportation projects.

Projects this year include surface treatment on Stage Coach Road south from U.S. Highway 20 through Stratford to the Webster County line. Waid said the road will have one-quarter to one-half inch of micro-surfacing, asphalt with rubber added to it, installed. He said the project is less expensive than an overlay and construction is set to begin in May.

“This is one of those projects that, seven or eight years ago, we were looking at and really needed to do something with,” Waid said.

This year will also see a culvert project on R-38 near Blairsburg

Upcoming fiscal year

For the 2015 fiscal year, Waid said the county has several projects planned. The county will receive federal aid for a resurfacing project on R-33, North White Fox Road, from Webster City to the Wright County line.

Tax increment financing grade and pave projects are set for Estes Avenue and 230th Street. Waid said those roads are truck routes out to the industrial park at Van Diest Supply. A turning lane project on Highway 17 will be worked on as part of those grade and pave projects. Waid said those projects are under contract and will start in the spring when weather permits.

Also in the FY 2015 budget are plans for projects on the Kamrar Bridge and the Tunnel Mill Bridge. In total, Waid presented plans for 30 projects in the county through 2019.

Beaver bridge

Waid also discussed the declining state of the Beaver Bridge. The bridge, on 280th Street over the Boone River between Highway 17 and R-27, is on a six-month inspection cycle due to its condition. Waid said improving the bridge is a priority. Design work, surveying, geological and environmental studies are ongoing. However, Waid said funding has not been secured for a project.

“If I was to give a number, which at this point is without any subsurface investigation, just the sheer size of a structure going over Boone River like this would be in the $2.5 million to $3 million range including the grading approaches to this,” Waid said.

Chairman of the board Wes Sweedler said secondary roads expenditures have dropped in the past few years. From the actual FY 2012 budget to the projected FY 2015 budget, Sweedler said expenditures were down $1.5 million. However, that also reflects declining revenues. Supervisor David Young noted that the five-year plan is a moving target and can change over time.

“It is reviewed annually and there are changes made annually,” Young said. “Some things that are low priority now a year from now maybe become high priority and things that we think need to be done soon will get bumped back.”

Feedback on roads

As the season changes, the county is seeing rapidly changing road conditions. Waid said it could cause bumps in the road. He encouraged the public to contact county officials if they see holes or other kinds of deterioration on the roads.

“If we can prevent some damage, it’s cheaper. If we need to stay off some roads for maybe a couple days, staying off with some heavy loads can make a world of difference as to what kind of repair we have to do to those roads,” Sweedler said. “If we have to limit travel on some roads, we’ll do it, but we hope the public will take care of that themselves.”

Also at the meeting, Young noted the absence of long-time meeting attendee Dave Kepler. He said that Kepler, who is battling stage four inoperable lung cancer and brain tumors, is having some difficult days and wanted people to keep him in their thoughts.

“He was a regular, positive visitor out here for many years,” Young said.

The board also set time for a public hearing for amending the FY 2014 budget on April 22 at 9:15 a.m.