WESTMORELAND, Kan. — Pottawatomie County Commissioners spent a good chunk of their meeting Monday reviewing ongoing road and bridge projects during the monthly Public Works update.
Public Works Director Peter Clark says crews have been active trying to get in front of some of the areas of county roads impacted by wet weather this spring. Some road closures still remain.
Photos of Rockenham Road presented to commissioners Monday showed bare dirt where gravel had actually washed away when the nearby creek left its banks between late April and early July. Clark says so far 26 of 80 projects have been repaired by Public Works Crews countywide. Clark says they are committed to getting some of the closed bridges reopened.
In addition, Clark told commissioners that asphalt crews continue to do patching along Fremont, Havensville, Louisville and Onaga Roads. Chip seal continues along 10 miles of county roads impacting Louisville, Olsburg, Westmoreland and Wheaton.
Clark additionally spoke to an upcoming Kansas Department of Transportation local consult meeting happening Aug. 26 in Topeka. Clark says it may be of interest to Pottawatomie County given the sheer cost involved with major highway projects with the potential to cost up to $50 million. He says projects presented have to eligible on KDOT’s system.
Commissioner Dee McKee expressed her interest in a bridge over the Big Blue River connecting Junietta Road to Marlatt Ave. in Riley County. While not part of the KDOT system, Pottawatomie County would have to have to persuade a regional partner, likely Riley County to jump on board to present it for any future funding requests.
Two projects were discussed as possibilities to present including expanding Hwy 24 to six lanes, although there are concerns since it does flood. Hwy 99 could be another potential project from I-70 north to Hwy 36.
In other business Monday, commissioners accepted five bids for the Irvine Acres subdivision unit one project. Those bids will be reviewed and brought back to commissioners later this month with one accepted for sewer district improvements in Blue Township.
Commissioners approved a motion to advertise bids for two building projects that will see upgrades to the Public Works building and Pottawatomie County Health Department.
Following an executive session Monday, the Pottawatomie County Commission voted to make Chad Kinsley the acting county administrator with a salary increase to $85,000 until January 8. At that time he would then become county administrator to replace Robert Reece, who recently announced his retirement.
A second executive session for land acquisition resulted in no action taken by the commission.
The Public Works Department is now nearly at full-staff. Director Clark noted Monday just one position remains open in the department for a full-time mechanic. Two seasonal positions also remain for summer help.