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Road boss: bridge should close

Staff writer

With barely a week on the job under his belt, Marion County Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford gave the county commission bad news on Monday. He urged the commission to consider closing a bridge over the North Cottonwood River on 310th Road between Bison and Chisholm Trail roads.

The 100-foot span on a dirt road is in such poor condition that it has a weight limit of 3 tons, he said. Although closing the bridge would affect a few landowners in the vicinity, replacing it would be tremendously expensive for its use. Crawford gave a very rough estimate of $750,000 to $1 million to replace the bridge.

“Are you going to find one of these every week?” commissioner Randy Dallke asked.

Commissioners said they would like to inspect the bridge for themselves and speak with landowners in the area before making a decision. They scheduled a field trip to visit the bridge after their next meeting Monday.

Crawford said he didn’t think the county needs to tear up the existing road surface on 330th Road between K-15 and Tampa before overlaying the road with asphalt. The gravel road has a very good base, and its only problem is that the road has some ripples in it that need to be smoothed over before laying asphalt.

Crawford and Road Foreman Bud Druse met with the commission in closed session for 20 minutes to discuss work performance, health, and pay of employees. On return to open session, the commission gave Crawford permission to advertise for a section man to work in the Goessel area.

They also approved raising Jesse Hamm’s pay to $2,946 per month, retroactive to Aug. 21, while Hamm and Druse assist Crawford with getting acclimated to the job.

In other business:

  • A rezone from agricultural to suburban residential for 1836 Pawnee Road was approved at the request of Sharon Self. The commission also approved a plat for the same property. The plat was needed because a lot split wouldn’t have included enough room for setbacks between the house and a neighboring field, Planning and Zoning Director Tonya Richards said.
  • Land surveyor Steve Brosemer told the commission that they need to draw a figurative line in the sand regarding structures improperly on a utility easement at Eastshore Subdivision. The primary goal should be to enforce the existing rules while limiting the county’s legal liability. He did say one easement on the edge of the subdivision could be narrowed from 20 feet to 10 feet to alleviate some of the problem.
  • Five requests for deer hunting permits on the former landfill by youth and disabled hunters were approved.
  • Commissioner Randy Dallke said he wanted to send a letter of thanks to the governor, Kansas secretary of transportation, and local Kansas Department of Transportation office for the quality of work on U.S. 50 and K-15 this year.
  • Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman urged the commission to approve a resolution to set aside money for a student loan repayment program under the state Rural Opportunity Zone initiative as soon as possible. Huffman said she is working with cities to promote the initiative outside of Kansas. Commission Chairman Roger Fleming said it would be good to target doctors in recruiting efforts.
  • Minutes from Aug. 27, 29, and 31 and Sept. 6 and 8 were approved.
  • Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson will send out bid specifications for a tractor and mower for the lake.
  • Hudson met with the commission in closed session for five minutes to discuss part-time personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • County Treasurer Jeannine Bateman will purchase two filing systems from File Safe of Salina for $14,223. Aurora of Aurora, Ill., bid $14,454, and Richards-Wilcox of Aurora, Ill., bid $14,336.
  • Several checks more than 2 years old were written off.

The next commission meeting is scheduled for Monday.

Last modified Sept. 15, 2011

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