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County Prepares To Look At 2023 Road Paving Priorities



Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson urged Scott Schmieder, county road and bridge freeman, to  be coming up with a list of priority paving jobs for 2023 during last Thursday’s county commission meeting.”

“Like last year, you need to decide which roads to pave in ’23,” Nelson said.

They agreed to take a day in the near future and look at county roads, to determine the top priorities fro 2023. Nelson reminded Schmieder that how many people live on a road and how much traffic it has should be the biggest factors.

The topic of asphalt versus chip and seal came up. Some residents have asked the commissioners why they use chip and seal in many locations.

Nelson noted that asphalt, costs about 475,000 per mile, whereas chip and seal was just $20,000 per mile a year ago, when asphalt was in the $60,000-65,000 per mile range.

“It costs about 25 to 30% as much as asphalt,” Nelson said. “If a proper base is put down, it lasts just as long.”

He said decisions on which roads to chip and seal and which to use asphalt will come after the decision on which sections of which rods will be paved at all. That decision has to be made before the next budget is done, he said.

They also talked about Bodine Road, where work was expected to start this week. A low-water slab will have two wings added to it. Since it is a dead end road, care will be taken not to trap residents in or out of their homes.

A steel plate will be leased from a firm in St. Louis to make a temporary bridge while the work is going on. Nelson called the $213 a week charge for the plate “really reasonable.”

“We’ll get people in and out for a few days,” Schmieder said. The only time it will have to be closed will be when concrete is being poured.

Nelson said the commissioners “really appreciate Scott’s dedication to his job.”


Gina Bennett challenged the commissioners to meet her outside the courthouse and try their hand at pushing a person in a wheelchair around the perimeters of the county property.

She has expressed concern before that the sidewalks have too many bad spaces and other issues for handicapped individuals to easily navigate. She said she would talk to the city board of aldermen during their Oct. 27 meeting, to discuss the similar bad spots on city property. The commissioners agreed to meet with her and walk around the problem spots Monday morning, toward the end of their Monday meeting.

“We are aware of it,” Nelson said. “It will be in our 2023 budget.”

The county and city have worked together to add handicapped spaces downtown, at the urging of Bennett and others.