Task force learns more about roadsThe Stutsman County Roads Task Force learned how roads deteriorate and about some of the ways to pay for them at the group’s second meeting Monday.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
The Stutsman County Roads Task Force learned how roads deteriorate and about some of the ways to pay for them at the group’s second meeting Monday.
“We’ve tried very hard to keep up with these roads. … with the disasters that we’ve had in the last two years, the road department has been reactionary,” said Dale Marks, Stutsman County commissioner. “All of a sudden we’ve got a road underwater, and we’ve got to deal with it, and some of the other work that we’ve had to do has fallen by the wayside.”
Mickey Nenow, county highway superintendent, presented a movie that showed people that roads are made of three layers — subgrade soil, a base of compacted gravel and a surface to resist wear and provide a safer, smoother ride.
Roads are worn out based on two factors — the strength of the soil under the pavement and the traffic. Roads wear out quickly when heavy trucks drive on them, because the vehicles first push up and then pull down all three layers of the road, causing them to bend back and forth and, eventually, crack. One truck puts more wear on a road than thousands of cars would.
Possible solutions to the problem listed included limiting truck weight, which would increase businesses’ costs, or reduce fatigue on the road by means such as adding axles to the trucks to spread the weight out evenly.
Nenow showed pictures of places where poor subsoil had led to road deterioration, such as Stutsman County 38.
“In the ’60s and ’70s when those roads were rebuilt and paved, they threw anything they could find from the ditches on the road to make that road base,” said Dale Marks, a Stutsman County commissioner.
Marks recalled some trees becoming part of the road’s base at that time — which would likely have caused soft spots and deterioration in the road later on.
Reconstructing a mile of road costs $1 million, Marks said. Milling and overlaying a road costs $350,000 to $400,000 a mile.
He said the county’s three priority roads right now are Stutsman County 62, Stutsman County 67 and Jackson highway.
County Auditor/Chief Operating Officer Casey Bradley spoke about the Highway Department’s budget, which had decreased 1 percent in 2011 but increased 21 percent in 2012 due to increased costs in gas, engineering, maintenance/repairs, contracted work, overlaying/resealing, patching and purchasing of assets.
Katie Andersen, mayor of Jamestown, explained how property tax revenue from land in a city is divided up between many taxing entities, including the city and county, but also including the fire, school and park districts.
The task force’s next meeting hasn’t been scheduled.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be
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