Marion County Commission approved a bid from APAC-Kansas, Inc., Shears Division Friday for four road projects scheduled to begin May 15. The bid from APAC totals to $3,172,260.
The largest project is 330th Road, from Meridian to K-15, which accounts for $1,009,836 of the total.
The commission settled a matter on the project, which did save some cost. A hilly, four-mile stretch of the road was slated to cost over $314,000 because of tearing up the base of the road. With assessment from Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford that the base was hard and solid, the commission decided to not tear up the base and thus did not add extra cost to the project.
The other projects approved were 60th Road, from Old Mill to Timber Road, at $630,268, 40th Road, from Timber to Yarrow Road, at $677,461, and 120th Road, Old Mill to Timber at $854,692.
Commissioners briefly discussed delaying road projects because of the high cost.
The bid from APAC was significantly lower than the other two bids, almost $400,000 less than the highest. The difference was material cost, Crawford said, with APAC charging $70 a ton for asphalt instead of $110.
Current high oil prices affect the price of asphalt, plus the cost of operating heavy construction machines.
“We talk about oil prices might go down in the fall. I have a hard time gambling on that,” Commissioner Roger Fleming said. “I would like to see this project taken care of this year. I feel like taxpayers deserve good roads in certain areas.”
The county will pay for the projects with the capital improvement fund, which currently houses a store of funds over $3.8 million. The county will also pay a revolving loan from the Kansas Department of Transportation worth $250,000 out of the Capital Improvement fund.
“We’ve got 3 million sitting there and we’re driving on crappy roads,” Commission Chairman Dan Holub said.
Federal road funding
KDOT program manager Sondra Clark spoke to the commission later in the meeting. She said the county will receive $91,815 from the federal government.
The payment, distributed through KDOT, is the total after a payment of $76,591 is paid back for a five-year advance on funding.
Clark said the County could receive as much as $200,000 from the federal government if Congress does not elect to change funding procedures.
KDOT determines the portion of money each state receives based on miles of deficient bridges in the county, vehicles registered in the county, road miles, and a gas tax calculated by the state treasurer.
The commission and Crawford agreed that the best use of the money would go toward the Remington Road project also scheduled to begin this summer. The money could also go toward road signs.
Holub said Remington is becoming a higher priority because of increased traffic on the road traveling to Pilsen to see the home parish of Sainthood candidate Father Emil Kapaun.
“The Pope wants to come and visit if he becomes a saint,” Crawford said. “He’d have to get four-wheel drive to get his motorcade through.”
“That would be bad press, the Pope-mobile stuck in the mud,” Holub added.
Holub asked Clark if there were other options to gain financial assistance for the road. She said she would look into earmark-like program applications.
The commission approved split fuel bids between Cardie Oil and Cooperative Grain and Supply for the Road and Bridge Department.
Cardie Oil will supply 2,950 gallons of diesel for areas one and two for $9,777.
Cooperative Grain and Supply will supply 3,600 gallons of diesel for areas three and four for $12,042.
The commission approved summer help for the Road and Bridge Department.
Jay Klassen, Don Keazer, Adam Maag, Blake Crawford, and Jared Vondenkamp were approved for seasonal employment at $10 an hour.
Commissioners also asked Randy Crawford about hiring 17-year-olds specifically to hold flags and patch roads with all of the roadwork set to begin this summer.
Minors cannot use heavy machinery for the county because of liability issues, Crawford said.