County committed to fixing roads near Goessel
Concerned residents attended a joint meeting of Goessel City Council and Marion County Commission on Thursday to press the county to make a commitment to improve their roads.
The county converted 120th Road near Goessel from blacktop to gravel during the summer, and 90th Road was converted to gravel a couple of years ago.
Converting the roads to gravel allows road crews to shore up a sturdy base so the roads will be more durable when they are restored to blacktop status, Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Herzet said.
Road crews were scheduled to double chip seal 90th Road during the summer, but they ran out of time. It will be done in 2011, Herzet said.
The county plans to double chip-seal 120th Road in 2012. Herzet prefers a two-year wait because it gives crews a chance to find and fix any soft spots and make sure the repair works.
Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said it is a balancing act between speed of construction and road durability. The county could seal the roads at the next opportunity, but they would probably degrade quickly.
“We can’t wave a magic wand,” commissioner Dan Holub said. “It’s a time issue.”
Goessel area residents are concerned about 120th and 90th roads because they are important east-west routes. East of town, 120th Road connects Goessel to Indigo Road. West of town, 90th and 120th roads connect Goessel to Moundridge and Hesston, where many residents work.
USD 411 Superintendent John Fast said he called four companies in Moundridge and Hesston and was told 700 to 800 Marion County residents work for those companies.
The roads are also important for customers from those areas coming to businesses in and around Goessel.
Fast said hearing the county planned to seal the roads wasn’t satisfactory and pressed the commissioners for a stronger commitment.
“Are we really committed to fixing these roads up?” he asked.
Commissioners said 90th Road west of K-15 will be sealed in 2011 and that they have every intention of sealing 120th Road in 2012.
Council member Larry Lindeman said he hoped the county would stick to that plan. Another road had been converted to gravel and planned as a two-year project. Now, 14 years later, it is still gravel, he said.
“I think everybody here would like it to be done tomorrow,” council member Dallas Boese said, but it is good to know why it has to wait.
Detours, ditches, dust
Several residents said they didn’t think the county put up adequate signs informing drivers about the change in road conditions.
One resident also urged Herzet to make sure ditches along the roads drained properly. If water is allowed to sit in ditches, it will soak into the ground and undermine the road base.
Other residents raised concerns about dust from the gravel roads. Herzet said there is a chemical the county could spread on the roads to reduce dust, but it would also undermine the road base.