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County commissioners split on resolution for Northwind Drive

by Dennis Sharkey

It appears construction to pave Northwind Drive, a subdivision in the southeastern corner of the county, is days away.

Commissioners approved a plan 2-1 on Monday to begin work on the project. Chairman Richard Malm was the dissenter.

For nearly two years residents of the subdivision have been trying to pave the road that is currently dirt and in extreme disrepair. Residents say school buses and the postal service have said they will stop traveling down the road.

The original plan was to pave the road and then have the county take over maintenance of the road after construction. The project is financed through bonds that have already been approved and sold.

Commissioners put a halt to the plan last fall weeks after the bonds were approved and sold. Road and Bridge Director Francis Hubbard reviewed the plans and determined they didn’t meet county specifications.

After going back and forth for months, residents appeared to have a valid bid for the project but last month commissioners put the brakes on the project again because the replacement of four culverts was not addressed in the bid and Joe McAfee, the county’s contracted engineer, had concerns that the base for the road was not addressed either.

Representatives for the contractors appeared at the commission meeting and assured commissioners that the concerns would be addressed concerning the road base.

Residents of the subdivision are also racing time because bid prices are only good for a few more weeks as oil prices are expected to climb. Dennis Hancock, a spokesman for the group, said the work needs to begin soon.

“These people have lived out there for almost 20 years and had no maintenance on their road,” Hancock said. “I think they’ve been pretty good about getting along with everybody involved.

“I think we should go ahead with this before asphalt goes up again and before it turns into a scenario where there’s not enough money to do it,” he added.

The added costs of replacing four culverts was the last hurdle and the sticking point of keeping the project from advancing until Monday.

The resolution to the issue made by First District Commissioner Lynn Luck called for the county to pay for the overrun costs of installing the culverts.

Currently there is about $161,000 left in the project account. The contractor’s bid without the culvert replacement work is more than $156,200. McAfee estimated the cost at $14,000 but said the cost could be significantly reduced if the county did the work. Part of the plan calls for the county to do the construction work on two of the culverts.

Residents are also anxious to get a resolution from commissioners for the takeover of the road. Resident Lee Diepenbrock said one resident needs the resolution to refinance their home. Another has two potential buyers for their house but cannot move forward without a written commitment.

Malm told residents he doesn’t want to take over the road and will only do so when the job is finished.

“We’ve agreed in principal to take it over but we want to make sure it’s built correctly first,” Malm said. “We’re not going to assume.”

In other actions:

  • Bids were opened for a bridge repair project on Ferguson Road north of K-92 Highway. Four bids were opened that ranged from more than $395,000 to $454,000. Engineer’s estimates for the project were about $427,000.
  • Commissioners accepted the bid of Haag Oil for county fuel supply at $0.045 up charge per gallon for delivery.
  • Hubbard said he plans on having one more delivery of road salt that will fill the county’s storage to capacity to prepare for next year.
  • Planning and Zoning Director Eloise Tichenor said she has received 14 applications for a full-time position in the Planning and Zoning Office. Interviews will begin this week.
  • Tichenor reported that the Planning and Zoning Commission was to meet Tuesday night to discuss the regulations surrounding the moratorium on business development.

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Posted by on Mar 21 2011. 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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