July 22, 2015

Roads remain top priority for county

By Daniel Arens

Once again, issues with roads were the chief concern of the Mercer County Commission, including problems with state highways.
Commissioner Wes Gunsch said he has received complaints about road concerns on Highway 49, and mentioned that Highway 200 has issues as well. Gunsch recommended sending a letter to the North Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) expressing the county’s concern about road maintenance on these highways, which is conducted by the state agency.
The commission approved a motion for County Auditor Shana Brost to send a letter to the state DOT expressing concern on state-maintained highways in the county.
On July 10, a truck carrying sulfuric acid rolled into a ditch off Highway 49, leading to three evacuations and a cordoning off the area. Although the cause of this accident is still under investigation, there were already concerns about the upkeep of the highway.
A utility permit was approved for Delon Bauman for a cattle crossing, with the condition that any costs from future issues arising from the crossing should fall back on Bauman. The commission did not want to create a precedent, and they want the Highway Department to monitor the project.
The commission released Carstensen Contracting from their contract work with Southwest Water and approved the purchase of a $20,500 new hydraulic mower. Work on County 25 is moving forward, although the heat has required a large amount of watering.
The commissioners heard a presentation from Jacob Narloch of Valley Med Flight. The plan that Narloch offered involved the county paying an annual sum of $35,000 to Valley Med Flight, in return for which the organization would provide free emergency airlift to all residents of Mercer County if needed to various Midwest and Mountain area states.

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