Icy county roads make drivers unhappy

Staff reporter

Numerous complaints and accidents as a result of poor county road conditions were briefly discussed Monday between Marion County Commission and acting county public works director John Summerville.

Winter weather on Thursday and Saturday resulted in ice-packed roads and hazardous driving conditions. Major roads were treated with sand Saturday but not before vehicles slid into ditches and rollovers occurred, particularly on Sunflower Road and Indigo Road.

Summerville told the commission that there was a "small window" to apply brine solution to roads prior to precipitation and the weather that was forecast wasn't a good situation for brine, he said. He continued that he had talked with Kansas Department of Transportation and was told it was a waste of time and money to put on Monday because roads have to be dry.

When commissioner Bob Hein said he had had complaints about the road conditions, Summerville said he had had complaints, too. County crews were out Saturday and distributed salt on some roads.

Summerville said he believed that with the brine solution, ice would freeze harder on the roads and make it more difficult for crews to remove.

"People need to slow down or stay home," Summerville said. "A little common sense goes a long way.

In other business:

— The possibility of implementing county building codes and contractor licensing was discussed by the commission.

Information was provided by county zoning administrator Bobbi Strait, Shawn Reed of Johnson County, and Tina Rakes of Baldwin City.

The information was provided for future consideration.

— The renewal of a cereal malt beverage license for packaged sales was approved for Canada Bait & Tackle.

— County Emergency Medical Services Director Steve Smith requested and received a 10-minute executive session to discuss personnel. When the meeting reconvened, there were no decisions.

— Commission chairman Randy Dallke asked the commission if anyone had been following the condemnation of bridges. Marion County has a significant number of bridges and it appears that the state may reduce funding for bridge repair and replacement.

The county was told by its consulting engineer that overall the bridges were in good condition.

— Payments of $4,350 and $6,575 were approved to Hett Construction regarding renovations and improvements at the county jail.

The next commission meeting is at 9 a.m. Monday at the courthouse.