BY MELANIE BUCK –
Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison said the 2015 Spring Resurface Project is complete and crews are now playing catch-up on damage from the recent torrential rains the area has received.
In the Spring Resurface Project, Ellison said crews were able to complete projects on several roads and replaced a bridge. Polk Road 54 had a one-mile stretch widened, drainage work and was resurfaced with double seal. Polk 652 received drainage work on a one-half mile portion and also received road base and double seal. Polk 41 North had a 1.25 mile portion covered with road base and double seal.
Roads receiving asphalt leveling and single seal were: 1.55 miles on Polk 89/644/649, 0.52 miles on Polk 680, and 0.7 miles on Polk 88. Polk Road 689 received a 0.3 mile stretch of two-inch asphalt overlay. The total miles of surfacing was 5.82 miles and the total cost of the projects was approximately $550,000. The County was able to obtain $41,000 from the US Forestry Service in a Title II program.
Polk Road 7, between Wickes and Grannis, got a new 60-ft clear-span concrete bridge that replaced a multi-pier wooden bridge. Judge Ellison said the new bridge was elevated five feet higher than the old one and because the new one is a clear-span bridge, it doesn’t have piers in the channel to catch debris and timber during flood events. The total cost of this project was $110,000.
Ellison said that his crews began working on some of these projects in December but weather took the upper hand and kept county crews working on emergency areas instead of scheduled projects.
Polk 54 garnered the most pride of the projects said Ellison due to the road being very narrow. He explained that the road was not wide enough to drain properly. “It’s probably the most difficult project I’ve done here,” said Ellison. “The property owners were very, very cooperative and donated right away. There’s been some that I’ve tried to widen but not all landowners would agree. I would like folks to know that cooperation from them not only helps us, it helps their neighbors.”
County crews are currently working on Polk Road 40 bridge over Cedar Creek and they hope to be complete in about three weeks. Crews have torn out a 20 ft. concrete bridge that was only twenty years old. Ellison said that bridge should have lasted many more years but the footing washed out and caused the bridge to “lean and list” and was no longer safe. A 31 ft. bridge is being built back in its place.
The next bridge project will be on Polk 6 near Grannis. A 74 ft. clear span bridge is still in the planning stages but is part of a 10-year plan created by Ellison. The clear-span bridge will have no piers in the river channel so will not catch debris that is so damaging to bridge footings. Husky Bridge Builders has been approved to build the bridge and the project is expected to cost approximately $125,000.
Judge Ellison said they have some fall projects lined up, however, they are currently four to five months behind on regular maintenance. “We are trying to spend time on some of the put-off maintenance. We’ve gotten a lot done in the last two weeks. I’m working my guys a lot of overtime to get caught up and we ask for your patience.”