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Big Slough Creek bridge complete

by Dennis Sharkey

The long-awaited opening of the Big Slough Bridge on Ferguson road is here, but there may be plans to close another bridge along the same road.

The road was officially opened last Friday for traffic about a week ahead of the scheduled completion date.

County Road and Bridge Director Francis Hubbard now wants the county to turn its attention to another bridge on Ferguson Road between K-92 and K-16 Hwys. Like the two other bridges replaced on Ferguson Road this year, the bridge in question was built in 1968 and is in about the same shape as the other two. Hubbard said there are concrete chunks missing, several cracks and a considerable amount of steel rebar exposed.

Hubbard said the bridge is about half the size of the completed Big Slough Bridge and would take about 60-70 working days to construct.

A small group of residents attended Monday’s meeting with commissioners to discuss a road project for Northwind Drive located in the southeast corner of the county. Residents have met with commissioners several times the last couple of months since the project was halted in October. Hubbard put the brakes on the project after residents brought a bid that did not meet county road standards. Residents are wanting the county to take over the road after it is constructed.

The last time the two sides met a couple of weeks ago, it appeared that a plan to begin construction on the road was on the fast track. The original plan was for a black top road however, residents settled for a gravel road because county specifications for a blacktop road were out of the price range for bonds issued on the project.

A gravel road would be considerably less and may leave the project with a surplus, and now residents say they are not moving forward with any project until they have an answer as to what happens with the extra money. Residents are concerned that they will have to pay interest on the surplus for 10 years when the bonds are due to be recalled.

At times the discussion with commissioners and their counsel, Mike and Jan Hayes, became heated with both sides trading snide remarks before the conversation became civil again. Hayes said via the bond attorney for the project that paying the bond off early would be up to the bond holder. Hayes said it would not be appropriate to bring a proposal to the bond holder without having solid figures, leaving the two sides at a stalemate.

In other actions:

  • Hubbard said salt is being delivered to the county. In all, the county will have about 400 tons of salt and 300 tons of sand for road treatment this winter.
  • Commissioners approved a conditional use permit for a business about 2.5 miles south of McLouth on Washington Road. Five neighbors signed a petition in support of the permit. One planning commissioner, Paul Johnson, voted against the permit because of traffic concerns. Hubbard said he had no concerns.
  • Commissioners approved a request by Auxiliary Director Mark Richards to purchase two low mileage used vehicles for use by the Sheriff’s Department. The vehicles will be used as spare cars for officers who are having their normal vehicles worked on for extended periods of time.

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Posted by on Dec 13 2010. Filed under County, County Commission, Government. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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