Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

June 12, 2013

Road projects discussed

Clint Brown

Knoxville —

The Marion County Board of Supervisors met with County Engineer Roger Schletzbaum on Wednesday morning to discuss hard surface road maintenance.
Schletzbaum updated the board on current roads that are seal coated and where some overlay has been done, including future plans of such.
Residential roads in the unincorporated areas seem to have the most issues in terms of condition. Schletzbaum explained this includes roads in Attica, Tracy, Columbia and Otley to name a few, but also includes Knoxville Estates and Dutchman's Landing West.
Schletzbaum told the board that the Secondary Roads Department has surveyed every hard surfaced road, including farm to market, in the county and rated each road on a 1-4 scale, with 1 being the worst. Various options were set depending on condition of each road in the future from returning the road to gravel to sealing over existing pavement to thin overlays to full depth reclamation.
Drainage will also need to be addressed to a number of the roads before any work is started on the surface condition. Piping in some areas under the roads is also need.
"We looked at every residential area and ranked them," Schletzbaum said. "We then grouped them into those ratings and picked preferred methods of improving those roads. The culs-de-sac in Dutchman's Landing West is not the same as the main roads through Attica because of traffic for example."
Schletzbaum told the board that the roads that were ranked either 1 or 2, he would like to plan to improve those roads in the next couple of years. The roads ranked 3 or 4 can be rescued with seal treatment at this point in time, Schletzbaum commented.
The list of those roads that will be fixed first will be done in a logistical manner. Schletzbaum would like to see just over $500,000 allocated for road projects in the next fiscal year. He commented that this would probably be a three-year process to get all roads identified fixed.
"The $518,000 would cover some of the roads rated 1, but not all of them," Schletzbaum said. "We hope to save some money year to year in order to use it the next year."
Roads will deteriorate over time and the board understands that some of the roads can still be rescued from getting into that 1 or rated list.
"We have to deal with it," Supervisor Craig Agan said.
"This is a high priority," Schletzbaum said of the roads. "We may have to put off some of the bridge work we had planned."
Schletzbaum said that the challenge will be in the next few years, as many of the roads will fall into 'bad' shape due to many uncontrollable factors, such as floods, snow and traffic.
"We want to save some of the roads before they get bad though," Schletzbaum said.
"We can't wait to asphalt  overlay everything," Agan said. "We want people to know our direction on this."
A budget amendment will likely need to be made for the next fiscal year, but Schletzbaum will continue to work on future outlooks (three years or so out) to present to the board, in order to allocate the funds needed for those projects moving forward.
No official action was taken during the meeting on the hard surfaced road maintenance agenda item.