By MARK EVANS
Many times during his 18 years on the county commission, Garry Nelson received calls from concerned residents trying to get the commission to pave their gravel road.
In one of his final meetings as presiding commissioner, Nelson got an unusual call last Thursday. A concerned caller on Smith Road requested that the road not be paved, as the county was planning to do in 2023.
The caller said her family owns bulldozers, backhoes and other heavy equipment they haul over the road. She noted that it would tear up a paved road.
Nelson and the other commissioners agreed on that point – especially with the chip and seal paving planned for the road.
The individual also said that they have done some of their own work on the road in the past.
Nelson thanked her for sharing this information before the work was done.
The caller also expressed concern that the road being paved would lead to people driving faster and possibly a car going into the home of a neighbor on a “dead man’s curve” in the road.
The main reason the final segment of Smith Road was planned for 2023 – along with the connecting Westover Road – was to knock out the final unpaved roads in the far western part of the county. That would keep the county from having to haul graders all the way there for such a small job.
Meanwhile, Scott Schmieder, road and bridge foreman, reported that pipe installation was wrapping up on another future paving project, McDaniel Road.
Schmieder also said his crews were trimming limbs and cutting dead trees. He said there is “plenty of maintenance to do yet.”
He said he would meet with state engineers this week to discuss raising road entrances onto New Offenburg Westover and Smith roads – and possibly Dorlac Road.
Schmieder also told the commissioners he would need to get two new steel pipes for Hawn Park Road. He estimated the 15-inch pipes would probably cost $600-700 apiece. Plastic pipes cannot be used since burning is done along the road.
LOOKING AT A TRACTOR/MOWER
Schmieder also discussed the boom mower-tractor situation with the commissioners. In the past, they have leased a tractor to operate the boom mower. They agreed that it may be in the county’s best interest to buy its own. Schmieder suggested that a tractor and mower together should run in the $150,000-160,000 range.
It could also be used to mow the fairgrounds, rather than contracting the job out.