Schmieder, Commissioners Discuss Road Maintenance Issues

By MARK EVANS

mevans@stegenherald.com

Some residents of Saddle Creek would like to see the road become a maintained county road. The Ste. Genevieve County Commission and road and bridge foreman Scott Schmieder agreed last Thursday, that the road would need a tremendous amount of work done to it before the county could agree to take it over.

The county has a minimum width standard for dead-end roads of 18 feet.  Most of Saddle Creek Road is only 11 or 12 feet wide. It would also need ditches, proper culverts and a turn-around area, or cul du sac.

Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson said it would cost a minimum $100,000 to get it up to county specs.

“They’d be better off paving it themselves and keeping it private,” he said.

He said, while there are some nice houses on the road, it is essentially “a dirt path.”

He said he met with some of the residents and advised them that if it did become a county road, they could not restrict traffic on it.

“They couldn’t say anything about people driving  through and turning around in the middle of the night,” Nelson said. This is another factor people wanting their private roads taken over by the county often fail to realize, he said.

Meanwhile, Schmieder reported on other road projects. Hart-Pinkston had one spot that would need a screen used on it to get rid of a “washboard” section, but looked good otherwise.

Nelson told him Three Rivers Road “looked real good.”

Schmieder is trying to wrap up patching and repairing of potholes while the weather holds out.

Hager Road has a bunch of small potholes he will be addressing It will also need a new coat of chip and seal paving  “or half of them will come out this winter,” Schmieder said, referring to the filled potholes.

He reported that patching on Holst Road was completed, along with Old Potosi and Zerwig roads. He said he was also waiting on paperwork from County Surveyor Gerald “Duck” Bader to wrap up Saline Creek Road.

More discussion took place on Lawrenceton Cutoff Road. Nelson noted that it was the first road paved after the road tax passed in the early 2000s.

Schmieder said he would have to dig out some sections before repairing them.

The road also suffers from several natural springs that “bleed” water up through the roadway, as well as use by heavy dump trucks from a nearby quarry, and an inferior base being put down when it was paved

Schmieder said  Hickory and Hager Roads were being worked on that day.

Nelson noted that the county is going to be OK financially,” and that two-thirds of the way through the budget year, the county is “right on track.”

First District Commissioner Randy Bahr called it “the most expensive road in the county,” thanks to its constant need for repair. Nelson added that  because of that, “It’s a million dollar road.”

Schmieder said there are about 40 small spots where mud is seeping through the road.

“If we overlay it tomorrow, it will be the same way in three months,” Nelson said.

Schmieder also reported that Hickory and Hager roads were being repaired that day.

Nelson noted that the department “is going to be OK financially.” At the two-third mark in the year, he said, the budget “is almost right on track.”

Therefore Schmieder may continue rehabbing roads until winter weather sits in.

Schmieder said equipment was all functioning.

Nelson, meanwhile, announced that a second $42,000 Diesel Reduction Act (DERA) grant had been obtained. It can’t be used for a truck already purchased. It could be used for an additional truck purchase in the 2021 budget, though. Nelson and Schmieder estimate a new chassis would be $110,000 to $120,000.

A caller on Colony Church Road called had asked Nelson to tell Schmieder what a great job his crew did, taking care of issues on the road.

The caller said she “reached out, and they followed up on it.”

They also discussed what to do if the former Wm. Nobbe, Inc. (now Sydenstricker Nobbe Partners) stops renting tractors. They bought their bat wing mower on the assumption that tractors would be available to rent each summer to pull it.

FORUM HELPS ON CARES MONEY

The Community Services Forum has brokered a  way to get federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security [CARES] Act money to parochial schools.

One archdiocese ad forbidden schools from taking the money, due to concerns about taking federal funding.

Nelson said the four has applied for the money and will then donate it to the schools for things like Chromebooks, personal protective equipment and touchless water fountains – all things that qualify for CARES Act funds.