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County's gravel roads swallowed by mud

Staff writer

Residents around the county awoke Monday to find gravel roads swallowed whole by mud pits, and, in many places, only an inch of rain responsible for it.

While some took to social media to voice concerns, rural Florence resident John Siebert approached the county commission Monday with concerns regarding the upkeep of Yarrow Rd., where he lives.

“Your maintainers, they always want to leave that bit of rock along the edge of the road so they can spread it back the next time, but the water gets to the edge of that rock and then (stays on) the road. Not a real good idea,” Siebert said. “And that’s the standard procedure, leave that windrow rock along the edge of the road so you can use that to bring it back over next time. But it defeats the purpose. The water runs down the road instead of getting to the ditch. It needs to get to the ditch.”

Commissioners said the roads should be able to account for drainage even with a windrow of rock left alongside the road, but that a lot of roads have ditches that need to be cleaned. Only there’s no place to put the dirt removed from the ditch.

The rain built up gradually over the weekend, so it did not drain as easily and was more detrimental to the quality of the road.

County trucks couldn’t go out to fix roads Monday because they were too muddy across the county. Tuesday county workers began fixing routes with additional gravel, beginning with bus routes and mail routes, commissioner Dan Holub said.

USD 408 Superintendent Lee Leiker credited his bus drivers, who took alternate routes, and transported students to and from school Monday without getting stuck.

After bus and mail routes, the county will move on to “main thoroughfares,” of which Yarrow Rd. is one.

Holub said all counties in the area experienced similar effects on their gravel and dirt roads. And that the financial cost is devastating.

“Marion County lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in gravel over the weekend,” he said.

Commissioners tabbed Emergency Management Director Randy Frank to seek out potential grants the county could get from the government to help offset the cost.

“We’re declaring our own local state of emergency,” Holub said.

Last modified Dec. 10, 2014

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