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Road safety worries Tampa residents

Lack of paved access to community questioned

Staff writer

Having no blacktop roads into Tampa causes problems, Tampa area residents told Marion County commissioners Monday night.

More than 50 people met with the commission at Tampa Senior Center. With the recent deaths of teenagers Jeremiah Stang and James Weber in an auto accident three miles from Tampa, several people focused on safety.

The meeting was scheduled since July 13, when several Tampa residents requested it.

Kimberly Kroupa read a letter to the editor she wrote but never submitted in July 2008. In the year-old letter she said she thought the commission and Road and Bridge Superintendent John Summerville didn’t take safety seriously enough. Summerville was not at the meeting

Kroupa said she thought the drivers would not have been on dangerous back roads if good roads were available.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub said he got a lesson in the risk of dust-prone roads two weeks ago.

“I went by three semis, but I only saw the first one,” he said.

Iona Dietrich said she considered dust a health hazard that forced her to stay indoors.

Broken windshields and ruined tires are other costs of gravel roads. Speeding trucks — especially county road and bridge trucks — are the most likely to cause broken windshields and dust clouds, several attendees said.

Chris Costello said it had been more than a year without a hard-surface road into Tampa, and it had cost local businesses.

Commissioner Randy Dallke asked whether anyone had ever seen a county truck slow down on the roads. Many people said they had not.

Kent Becker asked whether there was a plan for when certain roads would be repaired and replaced. He said a committee like the jail committee could consider it.

“If we do that, I think somebody is going to lose blacktop,” Dallke said.

Jim Clemmer said there were several redundant blacktop roads in Marion County. He mentioned Indigo, Nighthawk, and Sunflower roads. Another attendee asked why 190th between Marion and Hillsboro was maintained as blacktop when U.S. 56 was just mile away.

Jane Vajnar said she was grateful the county was finally doing something, even if it took longer than she would like. She said Tampa felt like the “stepchild” of Marion County because it did not have the votes of Hillsboro or Marion.

Holub said his intentions were to double-chip-and-seal Limestone Road south from Tampa by year’s end. He eventually wants to have a six-inch-thick asphalt road from Tampa to K-15, and a double-chip-and-seal road going east from town.

“I don’t think there is any commissioner here who doesn’t want a good road for Tampa,” Dallke said.

Last modified July 30, 2009

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