Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 2, 2014

Supervisors talk road projects

By DIANE VANCE | Jun 10, 2013

Jefferson County Board of Supervisors today approved letting bids for fiscal year 2014 granular surfacing of roads as proposed by county engineer Scott Cline.

“The plan has been approved by Iowa Department of Transportation,” he said.

Cline said a little more than half the miles in the proposal are Farm to Market roads and the balance are county roads.

“We’ve looked at different ways to grade rock and I want to review that with you this afternoon,” said supervisor Dick Reed. “We want to make sure the rock is up to standard.”

Supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt said after the supervisors’ June 3 road tour, he questioned if quantity [of rock] rather than quality plays a bigger role.

“We’ve made some changes in specifications, going back to what the department used three to four years ago,” said Cline. “I’m hoping that will give us better quality.

“We use 200 tons of rock per mile on local county roads and 250 tons of rock per mile on Farm to Market roads,” he said. “That’s the minimum required.”

In other road news, Cline said the Secondary Roads crews fixed a culvert on Gear Avenue and tightened up concrete tiles just off business Highway 34 and at three more places.

“Flood damage has been fixed on Osage Avenue, we got some rock out of the ditches back onto the road and graded it,” said Cline. “The crews have been ditching, fixing potholes and grading.”

Dimmitt said he had a call Thursday that Marigold Avenue past the D.O.T. building needs bladed.

“Is 185th Street included in this construction season?” Dimmitt asked.

Cline said 185th Street is scheduled for work in fiscal year 2014, with bids let in the fall and work to be done next spring.

Cline asked the supervisors to consider his department purchasing a new, wheeled excavator in fiscal year 2014 (which begins July 1). The current wheeled excavator, a 1996 model, needs major repair.

“It makes more sense to replace it with a newer machine than spend lots of money on repairs,” he said.

Cline said his excavator operators test-drove John Deere and Caterpillar models and preferred the Caterpillar.

“The model we’re looking at is similar to the track excavator we have so this will make their parts and accessories interchangeable,” he said. “A wheeled excavator can be used on concrete and driven down a road. It’s nice to have the tracked one to get into places a wheeled one can’t.”

Operators also can switch between the machines with no problems when they are both so similar.

Reed asked if there are times the department would be using both excavators at the same time, and Cline said yes.

A Caterpillar representative attended the meeting and said he would not share his numbers for the model talked about in case the board sent out for bid quotes. He said the machine is built in Germany and takes 15 weeks to build from the time the order is received.

Dimmitt asked what repairs the department’s 1996 wheeled excavator needs.

The Caterpillar rep said the equipment is at the age where hydraulic pumps often fail, which is what the engineer is trying to avoid.

Reed suggested tabling the request until each supervisor can do individual research about replacing the wheeled excavator.

The Secondary Roads Department was the only county department to have its fiscal year 2014 salary resolution ready for approval.

The supervisors approved a 4 percent wage increase for employees.

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