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Scenic overlook to take shape soon
new deh wetlands overlook web
In a few weeks, work on the Cheyenne Bottoms scenic overlook tower east of Hoisington could begin. - photo by Tribune file photo

More bike signs sprouting up

In good news for Barton County bicyclists, Barton County Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips reported that his sign crews have been busy.

They have installed 37 new bicycle warning signs for the Be Well County Committee and Barton County Health Department. These are scattered along key county blacktops frequented by bike riders. The locations required contacting Dig Safe. 

The signs bring the total bikes safety sign count to about 55 covering all four corners of the county on routes that connect all the communities.

 Construction of the long-awaited Cheyenne Bottoms scenic overlook tower east of Hoisington should within a few weeks, County Engineer Barry McManaman.

McManaman reported he has had conversations with the Kansas Department of Transportation and contractor L&M Construction of Great Bend. The county is paying for 20 percent of the $328,746 project with the state picking up the rest of the tab.

The development includes a 10-foot timber viewing tower accessed by a series of handicapped- accessible ramps. In addition, there will be a paved sidewalk leading to the site from the current site of the information kiosk and parking lot, which will also be paved.

The overlook sits just off of K-4 between Hoisington and Claflin.

The report on the overlook was part of the biweekly county departmental update presented by County Commission Chairman Jennifer Schartz. Other highlights included:

County engineer

• In two matters related to the new Great Bend transload facility west of town , McManaman has met with Watco, Pittsburg-based railroad that runs through the facility, at the site.

He’s also had correspondence with KDOT about the overweight and oversize loads being sent to the transload facility at the airport. Originally, the massive wind turbine parts destined for  the site were to be hauled down West Barton County Road, however the bridge of the flood control levy would have had to be inspected first to see if it could handle the load.

But, McManaman said Watco and those involved agreed to reroute the trucks to U.S. 56. The flood control bridge there is on the state highway system and, as such, has already been inspected.

• Met with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and TranSystems to discuss the progress on the statewide Bridge Load Rating Program that is required by the federal government.

• Attended a meeting with the Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway Committee.

• Discussions with a local surveyor about floodplain requirements for grain bins.

• Discussed ditch work and possible placement of rock with a township official.

• Discussed county and township signing issues with the Kansas Association of Counties local roads engineer.

• Kirkham Michael Engineers of Ellsworth is working on a bridge deck survey in preparation for plan development on the Arkansas River bridge on the Radium blacktop.

• Work is complete on the concrete box culvert three miles north of Beaver and the road is open to traffic.

Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips  

Road and Bridge

• Staff is rebuilding a heavy duty equipment haul trailer. It is anticipated that a second trailer will be rebuilt.

• Four shop heaters were installed over the reporting period, replacing heaters with cracked heat exchangers. 

• Bridge work was completed north of Beaver and the road was opened to traffic on Feb. 2. The asphalt was laid over the structure to complete the project. 

• Crews spent the last two weeks picking up downed trees and limbs as a result of the late January ice storm. Crews are expected to be busy for two more weeks on this work detail.

• Staff worked with Emergency Management and Federal Emergency Management Agency on damage assessments due to the ice storm. 

• Staff worked to broom and clean the bridge deck over the Arkansas River bridge on the Radium Road in preparation for an inspection that began Feb. 8.

Noxious Weed

• Planning for the 2017 spray season took place and the beginning of spraying for bare ground work was started around signs and bridge rails. 

Juvenile Services Director Marissa Woodmansee

• All Stars class was taught on two occasions to two 6th grade classes at Riley Elementary school. These were the 10th and 11th sessions.

• Met with the Rice County Attorney regarding new diversion law for juveniles

• Juvenile Intake and Assessment has completed 31 intakes since Jan. 12.

• Juvenile Intensive Supervised Probation and Case Management currently are supervising 48 youth from the 20th Judicial District.

• Project Stay is the Case Management program for youth who have truancy issues and currently provides Case Management for 31 youth in the district.

• Teen Court is held every month and currently has 15 active cases.

• Choices is a new evidence based curriculum offered by staff. Two youth continue to work the curriculum. Staff also taught an anger control class and a parenting class.