The Special Road District Board has not made any decisions on paving roads this year and is looking for input from residents about which projects it should pursue.
The district board heard last week from residents who live on Quarrytown Road who requested that their road be paved. Previously this year, the board discussed paving Gisi Road. Both roads, along with Eisenbeis Bottom Road, have portions that are asphalt and portions that are gravel. The board also is considering a culvert project for the western end of Molasses Hollow Road.
Board Chair Neal Naeger said during the meeting June 12 that his concern was for property owners who had paid to have their portions of those roads paved in the past. The Special Road District mirrored the county’s changing policy over the years in that property owners once paid 100 percent, then just 22 percent of paving projects. Now, with voter approval of a road and bridge tax in November 2010 that was effective in January 2011, both entities pay 100 percent of the paving.
Quarrytown Road resident Paul Viox told the board traffic has increased, washboards are evident on part of the road and dust gets kicked up and drifts into homes.
“I’m not opposed in any way to paving these roads,” Naeger said, adding that he didn’t understand why the hill hadn’t been paved before.
More than 3 miles of the road from Route M was paved years ago with a local property owner footing the bill, but a 1.5 mile stretch to Highway 61 is gravel.
Viox asked what the cost was to maintain the gravel, but the board members weren’t certain of that figure.
“We live with washboards on that road constantly,” Viox said.
Road Foreman Paul Bauman said after the meeting, “We’ve been out there cutting washboards our as best as we can.”
Viox said he understood why someone would be rankled if he had been one to pay for paving and then other property owners had the road paved for free.
Naeger estimated the cost for paving a road at $60,000 to $65,000 per mile for asphalt currently. The Ste. Genevieve County Commission approved paving 4.9 miles of Jackson School Road at an estimated cost of $333,000 this spring.
The Special Road District, which has budgeted $175,000 for contract work, which can include paving, has not decided on its projects yet.
“We’re looking at what we’re going to improve on this year,” Naeger said. “All of our longer roads have some gravel on them somewhere, but that [Quarrytown] road is considered. We have talked about it.”
The district’s list of roads show Quarrytown with 3.2 miles of pavement and 1.4 miles of gravel. Gisi has 2.8 miles of pavement and 0.4 miles of gravel while Eisenbeis Bottom has 3.3 miles of pavement and 2.1 miles of gravel.
“I don’t know how we can put one road ahead of the other,” Naeger said.
The County Commission uses traffic counts, population along the road and the cost of maintenance among its criteria to choose priority for its road paving projects.
The board had discussed Gisi Road during its May meeting and did not take any action. Naeger said the Herald received some misinformation as to the reason for that action. He said he wanted to talk to residents who had paid for the paving on those sections that were paved more than 10 years ago. He said the City of Ste. Genevieve’s discussions about dissolving the Special Roads District had no bearing on the district’s actions.
The culvert project for Molasses Hollow Road was discussed at last week’s meeting.
Naeger had some preliminary drawings for a 2 1/2-by-6 foot opening.
“That’s easily three times what we have there as far as capacity,” Naeger said.
He has some estimates for the project and received a spec sheet later in the week, but he was not certain how state specs would apply to the road.
Bauman said it would be wise to work on the project while school is out for the summer, since the road will have to be closed two to three weeks.
The road could be widened from 12 feet to either 18 or 20 feet during the project.
“That’s entirely too narrow through there,” Bauman said.
Naeger said he planned to get more information but didn’t expect any board action on that project before the July 10 meeting.
Naeger said there is the possibility of partial paving on some of the roads.
But Naeger also suggested the possibility of voluntary funding from property owners to help with the paving costs. Before the district began paying for paving, a person interested in the project would go house to house to get funding commitments, put the money in an account and let the county or Special Roads District know how much money had been raised.
In other business:
— The board received a request for speed limit signs to be posted on Lime Kiln Road, where the speed limit is 40 miles per hour. Bauman reported that signs have been removed from that stretch on multiple occasions in the past.
The board directed that signs be placed on both ends of the road.
— Naeger said he also was asked by a citizen about painting white center lines on some of the roads in the district.
“I don’t see how you can put a center line on something so narrow,” Board member Brian Kertz said.