Farmers express issues with Shaw Rd. Bridge closed

Board of Supervisors
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The Jones County Supervisors Board Room inside the courthouse was full on May 2 with farmers and landowners concerned with the closure of the Shaw Road Bridge in Anamosa.

     The bridge was closed a few weeks ago due to a fracture on the north span.

     Tom Welch led the discussion, with 20 people in the room. Welch said if the county would repair the Landis Road Bridge, southeast of Anamosa, that would keep farmers off of Highway 151. With Shaw Road Bridge closed, he said they’re forced to take the highway, which is a safety hazard for the farmers as well as travelers.

     “We don’t have a problem getting on and off Highways 64 or 38,” explained Welch. “But a new bridge would keep a lot of traffic off 151.”

     He said tractors hauling one or two wagonloads pose as a hazard on 151.

     “We need a new bridge that will hold the load,” Welch added. He said he would like to see Landis Road Bridge repaired or replaced before the Newport Road Bridge.

     County Engineer Derek Snead said there are “lots of issues” with Shaw Road Bridge. “It’s substantial,” he added. “It’s not usable anymore.”

     He said the county did minor repairs to the bridge a few years ago, but now, it calls for a total replacement of the bridge structure.

     “There is not enough good or usable material on the current structure,” said Snead. He told the crowd it would not be financially responsible to replace a bridge that sees a low-traffic count when there are usable adjacent bridges.

     When asked about plans in the near future to repair/replace Landis Bridge, Snead said they have not looked at any plans yet.

     “It’s posted for 3 tons,” he said. “And there are a lot of issues with Landis as well.” Some of those include height and width restrictions, as well as geographic issues. “It’s not designed for current ag traffic,” said Snead. He said a lot of grading north and south of Landis Bridge would have to be done.

     Jim Carlson asked how much it would cost to build a new bridge over the Wapsipinicon River. Snead replied with roughly $1.5 to $2 million, plus the purchase of right-of-way.

     Many of those in the crowd urged the county to consider repairing or replacing a bridge over the Wapsi, with Shaw Road Bridge out.

     “Traffic does not slow down on 151 for tractors,” they said.

     Even a semi driver in the crowd agreed. “It’s hard to get a semi to stop on 151; that’s a lot of weight to stop going downhill.”

     “I urge you to look at building a new structure really hard,” said Charles Summers.

     Supervisor Ned Rohwedder did praise Secondary Roads for replacing and repairing several bridge structures over the six years he’s been on the board of Supervisors.

     “There has been a big improvement in bridge construction,” he said.

     Assistant Engineer Todd Postel said the county has gone from 50 down to 25 embargoed/posted structures.

In other county business:

     • The board approved an appropriation resolution increasing Court Activities by $1,000 and decreasing Sheriff by $1,000.

     • The board approved a proposal from Minger Mowing & Landscaping for weed control and fertilizer services for the courthouse lawn. The cost for spring and fall applications is $347.70 each time.

     The board approved a bid for a new motor grader for Secondary Roads from Altorfer Inc. at a net price of $245,000.

     “That’s a very good price,” said Snead. “It’s very close to last year’s price.”

     The list price was $305,000 with a $60,000 trade-in value. Altorfer was the lowest bidder.

     Snead said it would take up to 16 weeks for delivery.

     The board approved right-of-way figures for the Bluebird Road bridge replacement project. Postel said the prices range from $6,000 to $10,000 per acre.

     “The price is based off the appraisal report,” explained Postel.

     The total project cost with grading is estimated at $850,000. Postel said he hopes for a September letting, and a late start date of June or July next summer.

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