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County Commission discusses roads, fuel

Staff writer

Roads and fuel were the main topics Tuesday on a light agenda for the Marion County Commission meeting.

Gerald Unruh appeared for a follow-up discussion of a request to close 310th Road between Bison Road and Chisolm Trail Road.

Commissioners expressed concern about continued liability for the county if the road, which has bridges in need of repair, is closed.

“We talked about closing the road, but apparently we still have liability on the bridges,” Commissioner Dan Holub said.

“The main thing we need to be concerned about is the county’s liability with those bridges,” Commission Chairman Roger Fleming said.

Unruh also had concerns.

“We need the bridges or we can’t farm, and the land would be worthless without it,” Unruh said.

“I don’t want to lose everything I own,” Unruh said. “I have insurance if somebody walks across the field and breaks a leg, but if somebody falls off the bridge? I don’t know.”

Holub raised the option of vacating the road, as opposed to closing it. Vacating the road would turn ownership of the land and bridges over to the property owners on either side of the road.

“I would only move to vacate if there’s some way to maintain an easement,” Commissioner Randy Dallke said, noting the county should preserve right of access in the event future developments would necessitate re-opening the road.

Holub pointed out the Keystone oil pipeline was constructed with easement rights that give the company access to the land when work is needed on the line.

“I don’t see why we can’t do the same thing,” Holub said.

Unruh and the commissioners agreed the next step should be for attorneys for both sides to meet to examine specific liability issues and develop a mutally-beneficial resolution.

“For the safety of both parties, I think we need to get legal involvement,” Unruh said.

Commissioners conducted a phone conference with John Riggins of engineering firm Kirkham Michael to discuss the chip-and-seal road program.

Riggins opened the discussion with a proposal from the firm to provide construction engineering oversight and quality control of the asphalt overlay of 330th Road between Tampa and K-15, at a cost of $75,000.

“You’ll get a lot more control over your mix,” Riggins said. “While they’re laying asphalt we’ll have three guys over there.”

Commissioners were not provided with a copy of the proposal, which falls under the overall design agreement with Kirkham Michael.

“Send an agreement for us to look at,” Dallke said.

Riggins did not have exact estimates for the chip-and-seal project, which would cover 25.5 miles of county roads.

A single-seal application would cost roughly $1.1 million, while a double-chip seal application would be approximately $1.8 million, Riggins said.

“Can we get some harder numbers?” Holub asked.

Riggins said he would use a double-chip seal done in Marion County in 2009 as the basis for developing a more exact estimate.

In other business:

  • A low bid of $25,727.20 for transport fuel by Cooperative Grain was accepted by the commission.
  • Area fuel bid awards were split, with Cardie Oil the low bidder for areas 1 and 2 at $9661.25, and Cooperative Grain the low bidder for areas 3 and 4 with $11,844.
  • The commission approved closing the transfer station Saturday to allow employees to have a three-day weekend.

The next commission meeting is scheduled for Friday.

Last modified Dec. 28, 2011

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