• Last modified 642 days ago (April 23, 2020)


County road repairs roll on despite COVID-19

Staff writer

Outbreak of COVID-19 has closed offices and businesses, but repairs to Marion County roads roll on.

A majority of local roads being maintained have seen little change, county engineer Brice Goebel said.

“Most of the traffic we have on our paved roads is commuters, whether it’s between here and Hillsboro, here and Newton, or people coming here to Marion from up north,” he said.

Most work being done right now is on unpaved county roads, where enough repairs can usually be done to make it safe for travel by the end of a workday, Goebel said.

“We haven’t faced a lot of reduced traffic on the roads because most of our traffic is local people who are still moving about,” he said. “They have to come in to town to work or whatever else, and typically traffic doesn’t make a huge impact on us, unless we’re on one of our paved roads.”

The biggest factor crews battle is weather, Goebel said.

“The temperature doesn’t affect us,” he said. “It’s the moisture as much as anything else because if we have too much moisture out there we could almost do more harm than we do by letting it dry out.”

Almost all road work is handled by the county, unless an outside company can complete a project in less time. Keeping work internal is usually less expensive, Goebel said.

“We typically do almost all of our construction in-house,” he said. “Unless something arises that is more than what we can do or if we can hire somebody else to do it tremendously quicker, and therefore with less impact to the public.”

Road department employees haven’t had to worry about layoffs because of the steady flow of work, county commissioner Dave Crofoot said.

“Every piece of equipment is running and we have enough people to man everything,” Crofoot said. “Which is good that we’re 100% operational.”

Last modified April 23, 2020