County hears about Goessel roads

Goessel City Council met with Marion County commissioners Dec. 16 to discuss roads, specifically 120th, which has been torn up and now has a rock surface instead of a hard surface.

Commissioners Randy Dallke, Dan Holub and Bob Hein attended the meeting, along with Jim Herzet, county road superintendent.

Roger Fleming, who will succeed Hein on the commission, also attended. About 40 community members also were on hand, as were city employees.

Herzet began the discussion about 120th with a definition of ?de-paving,? which is ?a decision to change to a surface type of less quality than an asphalt pavement when the pavement needs reconstruction, but to an acceptable surface based on traffic and economic considerations.?

Herzet said paving had been done when asphalt prices were low, and that traffic is different now than it was in the 1950s and 1960s, when many local roads were upgraded to asphalt surfaces. He said Marion County has 1,601 miles of roads.

Herzet said the county experienced a 150 percent increase in seal-oil cost from 2001 to 2009, and an 80 percent increase for hot-mixed asphalt paving during the same time period.

He also said farm equipment and trucks are bigger and heavier than they were when the roads were constructed.

One resident asked, ?Did it really take 50 years to realize that vehicles have changed? Is (120th) built into the budget? It looks like poor planning to me.?

Herzet said it was done in 1997, with chip and seal in 1999.

Dallke added, ?Double chip and seal is not the best.?

According to Herzet, $267,900 has been spent on the current 120th rock project. But a chip-and-seal job would cost $400,675, and a 4-inch asphalt overlay would cost $3.6 million.

Goessel resident Arlen Goertzen said dust was one of his biggest concerns. He said he had worked for the county road department in the past and does not remember this amount of dust, and asked, ?Have you considered laying down more sand??

Dallke said, ?That is a concern,? adding that rock is different.

Asked if the county plans to resurface the road, Dallke said the commission likes one year. Herzet likes two years.

?We plan to do chip and seal,? Dallke said, adding that they have to get the road ?up to shape.?

Councilor Jim Wiens said, ?That rock is turning to dust, and it?s going to be gone in two years, and you’re going to have to start all over…. The road surface is going to be gone.?

Holub responded, ?There?s no way to hurry it.?

In response to Herzet?s comment about springs under roads, community member John Unruh said no work has been done on ditches, and the roads would still have the same moisture issues if the ditches are not cleaned.

Herzet said ditches will be addressed in spring.

Resident Diane Richards said, ?I?m concerned about what you did when you closed the road down…. Are you going to at least have signage when you do it again??

She said there were no detour signs, and only dirt roads as alternatives. Those alternate roads turned to mud when it rained. Drivers coming from the west had no warning whatsoever that the road was closed until they got to the closed section.

She added that drivers trying to access Goessel from the east had no warning until they got to 120th and saw the road-closed barricades.

Residents expressed frustration with the lack of warning and the lack of detour signs, noting that many drivers either turned around and traveled many miles out of their way or did not even get to Goessel at all.

Some people tried alternate county roads and got stuck in the mud.

Several people mentioned the broken promises for 90th, an east/west road south of Goessel that leads to Tabor Church on the east side of Kansas Highway 15 and connects to Moundridge west of K-15.

Steve Janzen reminded the commissioners that they had promised it would be resurfaced three years ago.

?It was missed,? Dallke said. ?Keep reminding me. We look at our budget.?

Unruh mentioned potholes in the middle of 90th.

Councilor Larry Lindeman said 90th has been rock for 14 years.

?I remember when we were told it was going to be a two-year project,? Lindeman said. ?So how long is this 120th ?two-year? project going to take?14 years??

Goessel school superintendent John Fast said, ?I?m sensing a trust issue…. Are you committed? The community here really starts to feel isolated when we only have a north-south access.?

Fast said he had called large employers, such as Bradbury, Moridge Manufacturing, Excel and Agco in Hesston and Moundridge. He found that 11 to 13 percent of their employees live in Marion County. That comes to almost 900 commuters who could pass through Goessel twice a day.

Fast said businesses have noticed a decrease in activity because of the closed roads and the quality of the current road situation. One business owner said three of his clients already had to get new headlights because of damage from the rocks, some got stuck, some had to go clear back to Hesston to get to a paved surface.

?You’re cutting off a lot of traffic,? he said, noting that the James Robert Salon pulls in business from as far away as Wichita and Peabody.

Fast said he has started to call other schools and warn them about the condition of the roads here when events are scheduled at Goessel.

Dallke said, ?You guys are telling us what we?re doing wrong. We appreciate that.?

Mayor Peggy Jay thanked the commissioners for coming and said she appreciated their information.

Councilor Dallas Boese said, ?I do hope you hold up your end of the deal, and it will be done in two years. Businesses in town are hurt.?

Other business

In other business, the council:

? set two dates for city-wide garage sales: June 11 and Oct. 1

? set two dates for city-wide cleanup days: June 17-18 and Oct. 7-8.

? heard commissioner Dan Holub commend Mayor Peggy Jay and City Clerk Anita Goertzen for their work on the Marion County Economic Development Council.

? heard Holub?s concern about the state?s 10-year tax exemption for the TransCanada Keystone pipeline project.

?If we had that pipeline revenue,? he said, ?we?d cut our taxes in half. We are absolutely stonewalled by our legislators. They are ignoring us. We can use all the help we can get.?

He urged residents to write to legislators about the project.

? heard the police report: four warnings, one parking ticket, two contacts, one open door check and two cruelty to animal complaints.

? heard from public works employee Karen Dalke that fire hydrant shut-off valves have to be replaced.

?It’s not an option,? she said. Replacement parts are no longer available for the equipment that was installed in 1963.

Dalke had also put sand on the streets to help keep dust down.

?We need moisture,? she said.

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