Bad bridges on dirt roads may be eliminated

Marion County commissioners want to save some money by closing old, damaged bridges on dirt roads.

Affected landowners will be invited to a commission meeting, the date still to be determined. Commissioners decided Monday to seek closing a deteriorated bridge at 170th and Goldenrod.

Commission Chair Randy Dallke and Commissioner Dan Holub began the meeting at 8 a.m., taking a two-hour driving tour to look at bridges, before resuming the meeting at the courthouse.

The two commissioners reported to fellow Commis­sioner Lori Lalouette that the affected bridge had metal exposed at one end, and erosion of the roadway had left surrounding farm ground higher than the bridge.

A bridge off U.S. High­way 50 was reported in similar shape.

The commissioners said state-required inspections of such bridges by consulting engineers can cost the county $7,500 per bridge.

The commissioners also discussed using old railroad cars to replace low water bridges.

Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene said the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is releasing guidelines for the public this week on the spread of the Zika virus by mosquitos that can cause brain defects in human babies.

She said men and women, particularly of child-bearing ages and those who want to have a baby, should be checked for the virus.

Serene asked the commissioners to produce guidelines for county employees, such as wearing long-sleeved shirts for those who work outside.

The commissioners doubted such a rule could ever be maintained for employees with the longest outdoor exposure such as road and bridge personnel.

Emergency Medical Ser­vices Director Ed Debesis said he and EMS directors from Dickinson County selected two ambulance crew applicants to be the first full-time paid EMTs in Marion County. They are Kevin Marler of Hillsboro and Matt Williams of Florence.

County Lake and Park Director Steve Hudson reported he allowed owners of a large houseboat to place the boat Monday for one day on the lake pending a decision by commissioners as to whether they want to allow such large boats on the lake.

Holub said he was opposed to allowing the boat to remain on the lake because the lake is too small to allow one or multiple large boats, especially when they can be taken nearby to Marion Reservoir.

Dallke and Lalouette said that before making a decision, they wanted to go see the boat at the lake.

Hudson said the annual Bluegrass Festival at the lake last weekend raised $525 raised for the lake with a silent auction, $180 raised at the bean-bag throw and $825 raised by donations.