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County will take stretch of former highway

Staff writer

Marion County Commission voted Monday to accept a 1.5-mile stretch of road that used to be part of U.S. 56/77 north of Lincolnville from Kansas Department of Transportation.

Joe Palic of the Department of Transportation’s office in Marion said there was a proposal in 2002 to transfer the road to the county, but nothing was ever officially done. The state had ground up the road for millings, leaving the base as an access road for farmers to reach their fields.

Palic said all 45,000 tons of millings from the former highway were given to the county for road projects.

The road is in good condition and has a good base, Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford said. He said he was surprised by how much traffic the road apparently receives; the road is mostly free of weeds.

The commission unanimously approved taking control of the road.

Commissioner Dan Holub asked Palic about the possibility of lowering the speed limit on U.S. 56 as it passes by Marion and Hillsboro, comparing it to where the speed limit on U.S. 50 is 55 mph as it skirts the edge of Peabody.

When Kansas raised the highway speed limit from 55 to 65 mph in 1995, it left the speed limit at 55 mph wherever a highway was in the city limits. U.S. 50 technically goes through Peabody’s city limits. U.S. 56 doesn’t go through the city limits of either Marion or Hillsboro, Palic said. Hillsboro’s city limits end on the south side of the highway. Marion’s city limits include both sides of the highway, but not the highway itself, Palic said.

The county or cities could petition the Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit, he said. The state would then conduct a study of the speeds at which drivers actually pass through the area. He said the state generally sets speed limits at a speed where 85 percent of drivers are at or below that speed. School zones are the only areas where the state artificially lowers the speed limit below what traffic naturally does, Palic said.

In other business:

  • Crawford calculated the county’s actual cost to chip seal roads at $34,574 per mile, including materials, wages, and fuel. The cost for a double chip seal, which can be used to convert a gravel road to a hard surface, is about $53,890 per mile.
  • Cooperative Grain and Supply of Hillsboro will supply 6,550 gallons of fuel to Road and Bridge Department for $22,477. Cardie Oil Company of Tampa bid $22,601.
  • Cardie Oil Company will supply 8,000 gallons of fuel to Road and Bridge Department for $26,510. Cooperative Grain and Supply bid $26,700.
  • The county received $54,169 of regular sales tax revenue for August sales, a decrease of 3.2 percent from the August 2010. Year-to-date receipts are $540,411, a 3.7 percent increase from 2010. The county received $48,103 of sales tax revenue for jail construction, bringing the two-month total to $93,081.
  • Parcells Forensic Pathology Group of Topeka will conduct autopsies for the county when required, and Capital City Mortuary Service of Topeka will transport bodies between Parcells and local funeral homes.
  • The commission approved selling online two trucks used to treat roads with brine before snowstorms. Crawford said the trucks are rarely used and do little good without salt being spread after snow.
  • Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene will interview candidates for an open nurse position in the department. The commission gave her permission to conduct the interviews after a 20-minute closed session to review applications.
  • Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt asked for guidance on holiday hours for the transfer station. All non-emergency county offices will be closed Nov. 24 and 25 for Thanksgiving. The transfer station is the only non-emergency department open normally on Saturdays, but Nov. 26 isn’t a county holiday. Similarly, Dec. 23 and 26 are county holidays, but the transfer station was scheduled to be open Christmas Eve, a Saturday. The commission instructed him to open on Nov. 26 and keep the department closed Dec. 24.
  • Schmidt will visit a trailer manufacturer in Enid, Okla., to see how well their trailers are constructed. The company provided the low bid for a new trailer to take waste to Butler County Landfill, and he likes some of their specifications, but he hasn’t seen their trailers.
  • Schmidt will prepare a policy proposal to charge $40 per ton to dispose of grain at the transfer station. A local farmers cooperative recently brought in about six tons of waste grain cleaned out of a silo, but there was no policy that would allow him to charge to dispose of it. The only types of waste the county charges to dispose of are construction and demolition waste and tires. It costs the county about $40 per ton to dispose of waste.

The next commission meeting will be Monday.

Last modified Nov. 3, 2011

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