Road 'trade': Cleveland, Gackle residents want state to take section of road near N.D. Highway 56The Stutsman County Commission received a petition signed by about 90 residents of the Cleveland and Gackle area during its regular meeting Tuesday. The petition asks the county to trade a section of county road for a segment of state highway elsewhere in the county. “The county would take over 17 to 18 miles of state road elsewhere,” said Elmer Retzer, petition drive organizer. “And the segment of county road between Gackle and Cleveland would become part of State Highway 56.”
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The Stutsman County Commission received a petition signed by about 90 residents of the Cleveland and Gackle area during its regular meeting Tuesday. The petition asks the county to trade a section of county road for a segment of state highway elsewhere in the county.
“The county would take over 17 to 18 miles of state road elsewhere,” said Elmer Retzer, petition drive organizer. “And the segment of county road between Gackle and Cleveland would become part of State Highway 56.”
Retzer said N.D. Highway 56 starts at the North Dakota-South Dakota border and ends at Gackle. By adding the segment of highway currently owned by the county, the state highway would reach all the way to U.S. Interstate 94. He also said the state would maintain or rebuild the road to state standards.
The segment of county road south of Cleveland to Gackle has been a cause of concern for the county with numerous flooded locations during each of the last two springs. The county is currently bidding grade raises in two locations under the state’s Emergency Relief program for principle county roads.
“Any patron living between Gackle and Cleveland knows the road is in bad shape and sometimes impassable,” Retzer said.
Retzer said he had met with officials of the North Dakota Department of Transportation and felt they would be receptive to the idea if the request came from the Stutsman County Commission.
County officials expressed concerns with the idea.
“They were not receptive to this idea when I talked to them,” said Mark Klose, chairman of the commission. “And the other question is what road would we take over? Who, living along a good state highway, would want it turned over to us when we have no money to maintain roads?”
The issue was placed on the next meeting agenda with an invitation to the North Dakota Department of Transportation to attend.
The commission also approved letting bids for five projects to repair road damage done by the 2009 flood. Another road repair project bid at the same time was approved pending confirmation of federal funding.
“These are the small projects that had no bids last fall,” said Steve Thompson, project engineer for Interstate Engineering. “Our estimates were for a total of about $195,000 but the bids came in at about $177,000.”
These projects fall under the ER or emergency relief funding from the state and federal government. The county will be responsible for 20 percent or about $35,000. The repairs included work on the slopes of the roads and culvert ends.
In other business, the commission appointed James Nygaard to the “at-large” seat on the Law Enforcement Center Governing Board. The opening occurred with the recent death of Yvonne Hanzal.
The at-large appointment is made by the city and county. Nygaard was appointed by the Jamestown City Council during its meeting Monday.
The commission also received an informational handout from Jerry Bergquist, Stutsman County emergency manager, concerning the 911 reauthorization vote on the June 8 primary ballot.
North Dakota law requires the authorization of the $1 per landline or cell phone tax every 12 years.
“This would be devastating if this came up no,” Bergquist said. “We’d be the only county in North Dakota without 911.”
Bergquist added that in the 1998 election it passed with a 78.9 percent majority.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org