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Weather dominates county operations
new deh snow plow pic
Stan Nelson of the Barton County Road and Bridge Department shoulders snow off the roadway two weeks ago. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

With the winter storms of late, Dale Phillips and the Barton County Road and Bridge Department have been hopping, it was reported at the County Commission meeting Monday morning.  
Road and Bridge crews have spent the past two weeks on snow and ice operations removing snow and treating roads through two storms. Weekend and early morning hours were required of all staff during this period.
These included 625 regular hours worked and 227 overtime hours.
In all, Phillips said 760 Tons of sand/salt mix was used on curves, hills and intersections, and on areas requested by law enforcement. And, salt supplies were replenished and mixed with sand for future use.
Salt/sand storage was at 50 percent as of last Friday, Phillips said. Although salt is in short supply, with the county’s storage capabilities, road crews were able to have salt available for use.
In addition, his staff cleared snow at the two Memorial Parks and at county-owned buildings and parking areas, hauled off snow piles, repaired snow removal equipment and replaced supplies in anticipation of the next snow event.
High wind has created drifting problems on cleared roadways requiring equipment to be sent out to check roads in drifting prone areas. Warmer weather is expected which will allow roads to dry out and snow drifting to less of a problem.
 Sign crews replaced signs damaged due to the weather or vandalism. They also repaired mailboxes damaged during snow plow operations.
Barton County Landfill employees have been busy as well during the past couple of weeks due to recent snowfall. Solid Waste Manager Mark Witt said they had to arrive early to clear the scale, access roads and disposal areas prior to the 8 a.m. opening. Crushed rock has been applied to the household disposal location to aid customers when unloading waste.
This information was part of the bi-weekly county departmental update, presented Monday morning by County Clerk Donna Zimmerman.
Other highlights included:
Solid Waste Manager Mark Witt
In the last reporting period, the landfill has seen:
• 762.82 tons of Municipal Solid Waste
• 64.88 tons of Construction/Demolition Waste
• 30.54 tons of Utility Poles (damaged electrical poles from high winds a few weeks ago)
• 38.56 tons of Special Waste
• $34,474.50 revenue received through disposal fees
 Staff members have also been busy with routine maintenance of equipment, litter control, various recycling operations, etc. Extreme cold temperatures lately has not presented any problems with equipment.
Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller
On Jan. 27, the Barton County Local Emergency Planning Committee, sponsored by Barton County Emergency Management, held its quarterly meeting. The agenda included a presentation by Bj Wooding, Cartographer. She informed committee members about the capabilities and resources of the Barton County Mapping/GIS Department. 
Elections for chairperson and vice-chairperson were held. Miller was elected chairperson and Lily Akings, Barton County Health Department Director, was elected vice-chairperson. In addition, Miller informed the committee that Severe Weather Awareness Week will be observed March 3-7. She also informed the members that the annual storm spotter meeting, Storm Fury on the Plains, will be presented on March 4 at the Crest Theater in Great Bend.
County Engineer Clark Rusco
• Met with Township officials. Topics discussed included future bridge replacement projects, permitting requirements for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster projects, and regulatory and warning signage projects and the proposed project schedules.
• Met with residents of Bissell’s Point, Great Bend Township and Norm Bowers concerning road maintenance and drainage issues.
 • Met with architects concerning K-4 Overlook handicap viewing tower grant application. Developed contour map for the site to be used for final project location.
• Met with Buffalo Township concerning drainage studies for FEMA damage assessments. Provided study to township for review by FEMA.
• Truss Bridge Replacement. The mitigation measures for the spotted skunk have been completed.
• Tenth Street Bridge repairs. Field check plans were received this week for review.
• K-4 Overlook paving. Field check plans were received this week for review.
• Ellinwood bridge over the Arkansas River. Project has been completed.