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What? No complaint on roads?

County hears praise from unusual source

Staff writer

Despite county roads being a mess after a month of heavy snows and soaking rains, county commissioners heard compliments Monday from a rural Lincolnville man who often has been a critic of road maintenance.

Mike Beneke, who never has held back when he was unhappy with roads in his district, told commissioners how much improvement he had noticed in recent weeks.

Two or three motor grader operators in his area have improved much, Beneke said.

“It was nice to see some sunshine last week,” Beneke said. “I thought the road was pretty good out there.”

Beneke also complimented commissioners on a decision they made two weeks ago to pay overtime to road workers instead of having the workers take time off for the extra hours the storms caused.

“If everybody had to take their comp time, there pretty much wouldn’t be anyone to help during the summer,” Beneke said.

The county declared a snow emergency a month ago when heavy snow, ice, bitter temperatures, and high winds made many roads impassable for days.

Roads were so bad at the time that snowplows and firefighters with backhoes had to clear roads ahead of ambulances. Many farmers cleared roads and pulled cars out of snowdrifts and ditches.

Commissioners were thankful for the help.

“We haven’t had a storm like this in decades, and it’s good people helped us out,” commission chairman Dave Mueller said two weeks ago.

Potholes a danger

American Automobile Association issued a statement about how this year’s early pothole season could damage cars.

Potholes create risks of breakdowns, tows, and costly repairs, AAA said.

“A recent survey by AAA indicates that Americans spend billions of dollars every year to repair damages caused by potholes, with an average price tag of almost $600 per repair,” AAA’s statement says.

Temperature fluctuations lead to development of potholes.

“When a cold spell is followed by a warming trend, water in the pavement expands and contracts, leaving the road surface cracked and vulnerable to the wear and tear of traffic,” AAA Kansas spokesman Shawn Steward said. “This is a weather pattern we typically see in the spring, but this year, we’re already getting calls from members with tire troubles related to potholes.”

Hitting a pothole can cause more than a flat tire, Steward said.

AAA said 28% of tire-related rescue calls last year resulted in the need for a tow — often because the car did not have a useable spare.

Besides people not having a useable spare, many new cars do not come with spare tire.

Drivers should check their trunks to ensure they have a spare and that it is inflated with good tread, Steward said.

Besides tire problems, hitting potholes can dent rims, damage wheels, dislodge wheel weights, displace struts, dislocate shock absorbers, damage exhaust systems, misalign steering systems, and rupture ball joints.

Any unusual noises after hitting a pothole should be promptly inspected, AAA warns.

A tow and repairs after hitting a pothole might be covered under insurance, depending on a driver’s level of coverage.

Last modified Feb. 8, 2024

 

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