February 17, 2016

Commission reviews options for County 27 road projects

By Daniel Arens

Tense meetings about a new man camp north of Beulah and the proposed closing of a section road through Coyote Creek’s future mine dominated the first February meeting of the Mercer County Commission. But amid these major discussions, regular business also had to be conducted.
Both the commission and the county’s water board have been dealing with flooding concerns and road issues on County 27, where the road runs between ponds on both sides of the road and immediately to the south of that location.
Discussion of how the remove the “whoop-de-dos,” as the commissioners referred to the series of bumps along the road, generated lots of engineer input. The commission hopes to see as lasting a result as they can, but it is quite likely that the root issues for the road lie dozens of feet below the surface, which would be both impractical and cost-prohibitive for the county to look at.
Interstate Engineering, the county’s engineer for the road, presented four options for the county to look at to address the current issues. They warned that, despite these efforts, the bumps could return in the future, but that there would be at least a temporary period in which the road could be brought under control.
These options included cost estimates based on two miles of roadwork, although the actual scope of the project would likely be less than the projections. The board hopes to look for a strict overlay, as they do not know how much asphalt there is.
Despite reservations about looking for a more permanent solution, Interstate Engineering warned that they could not identify specifically what the problem with County 27 is, since it lies so deep. They argued that the costs of attempting a larger scale fix could not be justified without large costs first being incurred simply to determine what the real problem is.
Further conversation on the road issue hinged on whether Coteau Properties would cover 100 percent of the costs. Because the public uses the road, Coteau argued that the county could pay a portion of the cost, but the commission was not in favor of using any county funds for that project. Further talk on costs was tabled for the time.
Brenda Cook and Darby Berger asked the board why requests for a travel voucher had been denied. The two women had traveled to Beulah for the county commission meeting that was held at the Mercer County Museum in December, and believed that they should be reimbursed for the travel expenses of a meeting outside the courthouse in Stanton.
Asked whether they had any specific business of why they traveled to Beulah, Cook noted that the Human Resources (HR) person that the commission hopes to bring in to address issues within the county government was supposed to have attended that meeting, but did not make it.


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