Road program tweaked, but not approved

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Following some lengthy discussion during the Feb. 2 Jones County Supervisor meeting, some changes were made to the Secondary Road Construction Program.

     Knowing how residents along 75th Avenue in Cascade feel about having their hard surface road torn up, graded, and potentially turned into a gravel road, the supervisors asked that the grading project slated for FY 2023 be scrapped. Instead, 75th will be treated as an in-house maintenance project. Residents along 75th Avenue who were present for the discussion were pleased with the decision.

     “We appreciate it,” said Tom O’Brien.

     County Engineer Derek Snead shared some background on the program with the supervisors. He said five years ago, every project for all five fiscal years was completed, with the exception of two. One of those projects, Madison Road, is in the work as we speak.

     “That is the goal of this program,” Snead said of including projects that Secondary Roads knows it can complete, both responsibly and fiscally. “It’s a realistic list of projects.”

     Snead said 10-plus years ago, the program was more of a wish list than anything, with 30-some projects included. “Any requests (for projects) were put on the program,” added Snead, “justifiable or not.”

     Assistant Engineer Todd Postel said at the time, the program sent the wrong message to the public regarding whether the county would get to their road or not.

     Postel said the county’s paved road system is in dire need right now, something Secondary Roads needs to remain focused on. Several years ago, that focus was rehabbing and replacing bridges.

     “We don’t have enough funds to do it all right away,” he said. “We’re vigilant in what we add for new projects. We need to fix the infrastructure that was put in place years ago.”

     Snead said paved roads in Iowa were put in place in the late-1960s and early-‘70s. A large sum of money was given to states and counties for the purpose of establishing paved roads for faster access.

     “Now is the time they need to be replaced,” he urged. “Some difficult decisions will need to be made.”

     Snead and Postel did request that County Road E-34 get pushed back from the current fiscal year to 2023. Snead said the goal is to apply for safety funds to assist in the cost associated with the resurfacing project, estimated at $1.75 million.

     “That’s our second highest traveled road in the county,” said Snead.

     Supervisor Jeff Swisher asked about the county’s involvement in Circle Drive in Anamosa. Postel said until the City of Anamosa knows what they want to do in terms of extending Circle Drive with the closure of Old Dubuque Road, the county can’t make any decisions at this point.

     “As Anamosa’s project progresses, we’ll plan and we may need to add the project (in the future),” added Snead.

     While the board of supervisors were pleased to see 75th Avenue looked at, some also wanted to see Stone Bridge added to the program.

     “That’s a big project,” warned Postel. “If we do a big project like that, something has to give,” in terms of another project coming off the list.

     “We need to know what the end product would be,” Snead said of the county’s goal with Stone Bridge, whether it’s to maintain an historic structure or allow traffic to flow over the bridge.

     Both Swisher and Schlarmann urged the county to consider all options with Stone Bridge. However, Swisher said he would not be in favor or spending millions of dollars to repair it.

     “The bridge has done well, but it’s time to retire it,” he said. “It’s too much to fix. We need to get traffic moving and investigate options to go around (the current bridge).”

     The board did not take any action to approve the amended construction program.    


Subscriber Login