Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 20, 2014

County clearing trees along country road

By DIANE VANCE, Ledger staff writer | Jan 14, 2013

Jefferson County roads department worked on maintenance issues last week, clearing some trees along county road 187th Boulevard in Locust Grove Township, northeast of Batavia, which upset property owner Paul Miller.

County engineer Scott Cline told the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors today that his crew was clearing overgrown brush and removing trees that overhang the roadway, and all the clearing was foliage growing within the county’s 66 feet of right-of-way.

“They’re even within 40 feet,” said Cline.

“I went through records and located the 1854-55 designation of the county’s 66-foot right-of-way on this road,” said Cline. “Clearing is an ongoing process. The over-hanging tree branches hit the maintainers driving out there and winter is a good time to clear dead trees.”

He said the dead trees are roosts for an endangered bat species in the summer, but not in winter.

Supervisor Dick Reed agreed winter is a good time for clearing brush.

“A lot of volunteer little trees spring up in ditches and along roadsides,” he said.

A lack of surrounding leafage makes it easier to see and access the brush or trees to clear out, Reed added.

“We took out some young walnut trees, also,” said Cline. “It will improve the canopy. The crews had just started and then had to stop because the ground got too soft. They may be back out there today because the ground is frozen again.”

Supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt further designated this section of 187th Boulevard, “It’s the dirt road where we took out a bridge and replaced it with a low-water crossing.”

Cline said the county would remove an old bridge on a gravel portion of Brookville Road and replace it with a box culvert, at an estimated $325,000 cost.

“The county’s local cost is $5,000,” he said.

Farm-to-Market will pay $60,000.

“Are we looking at all the ramifications of using those other dollars?” asked Reed.

Reed said when the county accepted Farm-to-Market funds and state money for re-doing Pleasant Plain Road; it brought stipulations that have caused problems — the wire guardrails newly installed with the road project.

The wire guardrails restrict how far off the shoulder vehicles, especially wide, slow-moving farm equipment, can move over for other traffic to pass.

Cline said the portion of Brookville Road’s bridge/culvert project is a short distance.

“I’m saying we need to look at what some of the ramifications are to using state and federal money, because though the dollars look big, sometimes it’s not worth it,” said Reed.

The supervisors voted 3-0 to approve the federal-aid agreement for the county highway project on the bridge.

Cline provided the supervisors with an updated map designating the county’s Farm-to-Market roads approved last month in Des Moines.

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