By ROBERT PIERCE • Daily Leader
Stretches of six roads in rural Seward County could see improvements in the near future.
County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to allow road and bridge supervisor Tony Herrman to submit a five-year road construction plan to the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Herrman said a plan is submitted to KDOT every year with updates to keep the proposed road improvements for the next five years current.
“The proposal is to cover us into 2016, but the actual dates of the contract for this proposal of a five-year plan are the roads that’ll take from 2010 through 2014,” he said.
Herrman said road and bridge officials look at what roads have the most wear and which ones will need surfaces redone or other changes made.
“We’ve tried to propose taking into account what we receive as funds plus what we can afford to do not knowing what prices may do,” he said. “It’s the best guess estimate that we can do.”
Herrman said Tuesday’s presentation was to get input from the commission as well as answering any questions or concerns about the proposed plan.
He said upgrades to roads do not need to be made frequently, giving as an example a road in northern Seward County which had its black top done in 1995.
“I drive it quite often, and it’s still in very good shape,” he said.
“I think we have roads that probably haven’t had any major upgrades or work done to them in 25 years in the county.”
Herrman said the five-year plan approved Tuesday has about 137 miles of asphalt road. He said the county has been doing much in the way of crack sealing to keep roads in good condition.
“That’s helped in the last 15 years,” he said. “We’ve been doing that pretty regularly. Crack sealing and chip sealing extends the lives of those roads tremendously.”
Herrman said increased truck and farm to market traffic have led to much of the breakdown of county roads.
“All in all, Seward County has a pretty good set of asphalt farm to market and what we call our main traffic flow roads,” he said.
Herrman said the county’s five-year plan is reviewed every year, and if something changes, there is flexibility to step up a project ahead of another one.
“We could change this if we have to,” he said. “If we have some highway funds in our special highway account, what can happen is that counties that have tried to have a road improvement five-year plan and cannot come up with their funds, their 25 percent, those dollars get set over aside.”
Herrman said if drawings and pre-engineering work is done and on the shelf, the county may be able to take advantage of extra dollars another county may not be able to utilize.
“We’ve had that happen to us a couple of times in the last 15 years,”
he said. “Having a set of plans in the works that you know in the next three to five years, it’s pretty valuable to go ahead and spend the money and having them sitting there.”
Herrman said the plans might have to be tweaked somewhat by the time they are actually used.
“But I see it’s money well spent to be prepared in case there is some extra dollars,” he said.
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