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Road issues resolved
Repairs of SW 80 Avenue are underway
new deh county commission road pic
Pictured are wholes in SW 80 Avenue. Repairs sparked by the complaints of southwest Barton County residents are in the works. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:
• Approved a bid from Venture Corporation for $360,033 for the overlay on South McKinley and Railroad Avenue. Venture submitted the only bid for the project, said Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips.
In 2012, the City of Great Bend joined with the county to overlay Railroad Avenue, from Main to Washington Avenue, for about 2,840 feet. The county bid the 2014 project with a run from Washington to U.S. 56/K-156 156 – about two and half miles.
Also included is south McKinley from Railroad Avenue north to Second Street. The project involves a cold mix overlay of approximately one and a half to two inch thickness.
Work is scheduled to begin Nov. 3 and take 10 days to complete. The road will remain in service, but will be restricted to one lane and a pilot car will guide motorists through.
• Approved updates to the Barton County Employee Handbook. The book is reviewed periodically to assure compliance with current state and federal laws and employment trends, said County Administrator Richard Boeckman. These reviews often lead to revisions to several policies.
The revisions this time cover such matters as new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requirements, wage ranges, bereavement leave, comp time, notice given before resigning, working from home, and banning tobacco and tobacco substitutes.
• Heard an update from Boeckman on departmental activities.

Some southwest Barton County residents who had complained about the condition of township gravel roads got some good news at the Barton County Commission meeting Monday morning.
Over the past few weeks, Judy Demel and Steve Barger had attended commission meetings asking something be done about a two-mile stretch of Southwest 80 Avenue between West Barton County Road and Southwest 20 Road. It forms the boundary separating Pawnee Rock and Liberty townships.
The problems included collapsed culverts, wash-outs, massive ruts and wholes, all of which were potentially dangerous.
However, Liberty Township Trustee Kevin Rose Monday said work has begun to make the needed improvements. One mile of the road in question (SW 80 Avenue between SW 10 and 20 roads) is maintained by Liberty.
“I apologize,” he said. It has been neglected.”
Rose said they are going to replace to culverts and dig out the choked west ditch so water can flow better. That was part of the problem – as water was restricted, it backed up and caused parts of the road to wash away.
The new 30-foot by 24-inch concrete culverts have been delivered and work should begin this week. The project should take about two weeks to complete.
In addition, Rose said the township will redouble its efforts to make sure the road is graded and maintained in the future.
“This is good news,” said Commission Chairman Kenny Schremmer. He applauded Rose for his prompt response.
Demel and Barger were both at this week’s meeting and were glad to see the improvements. But said there was still part of the avenue that intersected with West Barton County road that needs work.
That piece was the responsibility of Buffalo and Clarence townships, they were told.
After Demel and Barger’s complaints, the commission instructed County Administrator Richard Boeckman to send letters to Pawnee Rock and Liberty townships to help force the repair issue. He he will do the same with Buffalo and Clarence.
Under the system used in Kansas, township roads (most of which are dirt roads) are the responsibility of the townships and the county has very little recourse in making sure they are maintained. So, the county had little recourse.
There is legal action the county can take. If a township continues to neglect a road, the county commission can rule it “untrafficable.”
If this is done, county crews would make the needed repairs and the costs would be charged back to the township. This is the action that will be mentioned in the letters Boeckman will send.