County Road conditions spark discussion on embargo

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     With the recent freezing and thawing action impacting Jones County roads, County Engineer Derek Snead informed the Board of Supervisors that a road embargo may not be out of the question as Spring approaches.

     During the March 5 Jones County Supervisor meeting, Supervisor Wayne Manternach brought up the topic, seeking insight as the season moves forward.

     Snead explained over the past 15 years or so, Secondary Roads has repaired the gravel roads as best as they could. With the abnormal winter we’re in now, though, Snead said the spring season could shape up to be even worse.

     “We’re talking and looking at embargoes,” he said.

     Snead explained he’s seeking advice from other county engineers concerning the idea.

     “It could possibly turn into load limits on some gravel roads,” he hinted at. “We could blanket everything but farm-to-market roads.”

     Snead said heavy loads on muddy gravel roads could completely destroy the road structure.

     “We can hope for a quick thaw and that would decrease the amount of time needed for an embargo,” he offered.

     Supervisor Jon Zirkelbach asked about the last time Jones County issued a road embargo.

     “It’s been a long time,” Snead said. “But we want to get ahead of it before the roads get destroyed.

     Should someone break the rules and travel the gravel roads with an excessive heavy load, for example, Snead said Secondary Roads could try to recoup the costs of the road destruction.

     “It’s similar to a posted bridge,” he said. “If someone goes against the posting, we could take legal action.” However, Snead didn’t think the county would have much success getting much money out of someone in violation.

     “You need to protect your roads,” said Manternach, in favor of the embargo. “We need to get the word out early and make the public aware of what you’re thinking about. We need to allow farmers to plan accordingly, be proactive versus reactive.”

     Snead said he would provide an update to the supervisors at their next meeting after reaching out to other counties.

     He said the suggested load limit would still allow school buses to access gravel roads.



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