What we think: It’s time to recycle some county roadsThe verdict’s in. Stutsman County must do something about its roads. Two hundred eighty-eight miles of paved road are in Stutsman County. However, the county’s $700,000 per-year road budget can only afford to maintain about 90 miles of them.
By: Sun Staff, The Jamestown Sun
The verdict’s in. Stutsman County must do something about its roads.
Two hundred eighty-eight miles of paved road are in Stutsman County. However, the county’s $700,000 per-year road budget can only afford to maintain about 90 miles of them.
Since the 1980s, experts have recommended the commission increase revenue to pay for the road work or decrease the cost of the work by recycling some of those roads to gravel.
It’s been 25 years. It’s time to act.
Unsafe roads are a safety issue for the public and a liability for the county. Last year, a pothole caused an accident in Fargo, killing an 8-year-old girl and strapping the city with a $450,000 settlement. And that could happen here.
Recycling roads isn’t popular with all county residents. But safety must come first.
And if the possibility of a fatal accident isn’t reason enough, here’s another: the patching and quick fixes don’t do much more than buy time. It’s like spending $800 on a car that’s worth $1,000. Prudence would tell a person to invest the money in a newer vehicle.
After so long, patching a road is like throwing good money after bad, one county official said.
In an unscientific poll on The Jamestown Sun’s Web site, 102 readers said the county should recycle the paved roads it cannot maintain and turn them to gravel. That represents 34 percent of the 300 readers who voted. The second most popular answer was to create a special assessment for county residents to pay for more paved roads, with 84 votes, or 24 percent.
Commissioners have been in a difficult situation for years. Recycling roads to gravel isn’t popular with all county residents and the money isn’t there to reconstruct roads. The commission has asked for more revenue — four times since 1988, in fact. Each time, voters said “no.”
The public has spoken. Recycle the roads.
(Editorials are the opinion of Jamestown Sun management and the newspaper’s editorial board)