County commissioners

MADISON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS (from left) Ron Schmidt, Troy Uhlir and Christian Ohl approved $10 million worth of projects in the one-year road plan and another $15.5 million for the six-year plan. Nevertheless, the plans are subject to change.

MADISON — Once again, Madison County has many more road and bridge projects to complete than funds available.

But thanks to bonds, the county should be able to get up to 18 miles of asphalt roads resurfaced in 2020. Last year, that goal was realized, thanks in part to road bonding.

On Wednesday, the Madison County board of commissioners conducted a public hearing and approved the one- and six-year road plans. It was presented by Dick Johnson, the Madison County roads superintendent.

Before the county bonded last year, it typically could get about 5 or 6 miles resurfaced. With about 200 miles of asphalt in the county, it was hard to keep up.

Johnson said the overlay projects in the one-year plan are estimated to cost about $5.4 million. They generally consist of milling off an inch or two of road, then replacing it with 3 to 5 inches of hot mix. The thickness depends on the road, the base and the traffic.

Commissioner Ron Schmidt said one of the roads he would like to see improved is South Airport Road, which is near the Norfolk Regional Airport. The road wasn’t listed in the one-year plan.

“That road needs attention really quick,” Schmidt said. “From Pleasant Valley east isn’t so bad, but from Pleasant Valley west, that’s really bad.”

Troy Uhlir, county board chairman, said he knows traffic count is one of the factors that determines overlay priority. He asked Johnson what others it is based on.

Johnson said input from the road foremen and the road conditions also are considered in determining placement and priority. The overlays are suggested to the county board, which then has the final authority before the plan is submitted to the state.

Schmidt said there is going to be a representative from a company in Kansas who will visit the county in March. The company can tear up an old road, add oil and material to it, then lay it back down. The cost is supposed to be about one-third of the cost now to grind down and then add hot mix.

“Is it a cure-all? No, but it would help us to buy some time. I’m thinking it especially would help on some hard-surfaced roads where we don’t have a lot of truck traffic,” Schmidt said.

Still, this may not be an option for the county because the weather and soil conditions are different from Kansas, including frost levels, he said.

Uhlir, who also is the county board chairman, said the bonds have enabled the county to be more aggressive in getting asphalt road overlays completed.

Uhlir said the bonds help the county to take advantage of low interest rates and cheaper oil prices now. That hopefully beats the costs of doing it in the future. Road work costs always seem to rise faster than inflation.

In addition, Uhlir said, bidding more miles sometimes attracts more bidders, which results in lower bids per mile for the projects.

Johnson presented some of the highlights for the one-year plan that includes expenditures of about $10 million, including:

— 26 bridge and culvert replacements and 18 miles of road resurfacing.

— Benjamin Avenue widening from Victory Road to Highway 35.

— Reconstruction of both miles of Old Hadar Road in Madison County. The mile in Pierce County is in much better shape than the two in Madison County.

— A bridge replacement on 838th Road, which may be total replacement or just the jump spans.

— 839th Road west of Battle Creek has a drainage structure that has settled. It will be replaced before it is overlaid.

— Some of the six-year highlights include:

— Battle Creek North, which includes repairing a bridge and filling in a hole near it.

— Apple Orchard Bridge replacement, which is the crooked bridge north of Norfolk on Eisenhower Avenue. The state and the federal government will pay for it, with the county reportedly paying nothing. The state is conducting a study to determine what would be the best replacement location.

Madison County commissioners met Tuesday morning.

Members present: Chairman Troy Uhlir, Ron Schmidt and Christian Ohl.

Others in attendance: Anne Pruss, county clerk; Dick Johnson, Madison County road superintendent; three county road foremen; Roger Acklie of the joint planning commission; four from the public and two reporters.

Meeting lasted: One hour, 41 minutes.


— Approved the design of a new sign for Madison County Extension and Veterans Services offices.

— Approved a change order for the Madison County, Stanton Northwest Project, resulting in a net increase of $2,091.

— Met with the contractor that completed bridge repair for Madison and Stanton counties. Resolved a dispute associated with the bridge for liquidated damages because the project was completed late, but there were some unforeseen developments. The project is known as the Grandview Bridge.

— Approved an agreement with HDR Engineering Inc. for environmental services for a project known as Norfolk North.

— Authorized canceling a check payable to Norfolk GM Auto Center.

— Denied a claim from a Nebraska State Patrol trooper for repair to a cruiser for damage from a pothole while driving on 37th Street near Norfolk. The claim has been forwarded to the county’s statewide insurance company.

— Approval of a specially designated license for Off Road Ranch for an event scheduled on March 21 at the RC Sports Complex at 1801 Riverside Blvd., Norfolk. The project will be a fundraiser for the Norfolk Steel baseball program involving a cornhole tournament.

— Reviewed written reports and processed claims.

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