Gordon Entz of rural Peabody drives along 30th Road south of Peabody two times a day, to and from his office in Newton. The three miles of blacktop before the road crosses into Harvey County have concerned him for several years.
The two miles between Old Mill and Mustang roads are a little bit bumpy, but the road’s safety improved about three years ago when flashing lights and crossbars were installed at a railroad crossing.
The westernmost mile of the road in Marion County, between Mustang and Limestone roads, worries him much more. There are big patches where the blacktop has crumbled, and where patches haven’t been blacktop.
“All they’ve been doing is putting rock in it,” he said Thursday.
The rock patches are better than nothing, because there were several tire blowouts before the rock was added, he said.
“But it would be nice if we could fix this rather than put a temporary bandage on this short stretch of road every month,” he said. “I know we can’t pave everything, but let’s upkeep what we have.”
Marion County Commissioner Randy Dallke, who represents the southern portion of the county, said he drives the road frequently.
“It’s not good, that last mile (before the Harvey County line),” Dallke said. “We (the commission) have mentioned it numerous times. We know it’s there.”
He said there are natural springs in the area that undermine the road base, making it difficult to keep in good condition.
Dallke said he expects the commission to make a decision of how to adequately repair the road this spring. One option is tearing up the blacktop and rebuilding the rock base beneath before reapplying blacktop.
After a meeting with Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford, Dallke said Crawford would prefer to rebuild the base in specific spots rather than tearing up the entire length of road.
Entz isn’t the only person to travel the road frequently. He said it is used a lot by farm traffic between Walton and Mid-Kansas Cooperative in Peabody, and that many people travel it to commute to work. Some people also use it as an alternative route to U.S. 50, which has a history of being dangerous.
“It’s kind of our major hub road,” he said.
Entz said he has been lobbying Marion County Commission to take action to fix the road for five or more years.