Devastating weather has left county roads . . . all mucked up
More than three weeks after a major snowstorm, county road crews still are working to make gravel roads accessible.
Some, such as 290th Rd. east of Lincolnville, still were being cleared from one lane to two Friday. By Tuesday afternoon, the road was a quagmire of ruts and mud.
County road superintendent Steve Hudson said areas north of 140th Rd. received the most snow.
Centre was the hardest hit school district. In anticipation of increased snow and wind, school was dismissed at 1:15 p.m. Jan. 8 to allow buses to deliver children home before snow accumulated and blocked roads.
Little did school officials know that school would not reopen until Jan. 17, and buses still could not reach all students that day. Some used other means to get to school.
Two days later, on Jan. 19, roads had blown shut again, and school again was canceled. However, the Cougar Classic basketball tournament was completed that Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Because of slick roads, there was a two-hour delay Jan. 22, 23, and 24 at Centre as well as other county school districts.
Massage therapist Carol Wituk of St. Luke Massage Therapy spent Thursday night in her office in Marion.
Her road, 280th, a mile north of Pilsen, hadn’t been cleared, and her car couldn’t get through slushy snow.
Temperatures got above freezing for the first time Saturday, getting into the 60s by mid-week.
Previous cold temperatures had frozen the ground. As it began thawing, many gravel roads turned muddy. Much of their gravel had been absorbed into the ground and needed reinforcement.
Hudson said Monday that 80% of rocked roads were open, but many need gravel.
People can request gravel by calling (620) 382-3761. Requests are assessed according to severity of need.
Major secondary roads have priority, then school bus routes and routes serving shut-ins with special needs. Other roads are next.
The road and bridge department has a computer program into which all requests are placed and sent to Hudson on his phone.
As of Monday, he said he had received 175 requests. He started evaluating requests from the southwest portion of the county and was up to Lehigh on Monday.
“We are taking care of the worst first,” he said.
The county has hired three contractors to join six county-owned trucks in hauling gravel.
“Please be patient,” Hudson said. “We will get to you as soon as possible.”
Last modified Feb. 1, 2024