The Marshall County Highway Department was busy this summer with the road program.
Supervisor of County Highways Jason Peters told the commissioners Monday morning that crews were able to chip and seal 38 to 40 miles of roads this year.
“We pugged right around five-and-a-half miles, we paved a little over two-and-a-half miles. We used about 2,000 tons of milling for paving. We used about 1,500 ton of that for miscellaneous patching here and there. Roughly 1,000 to 1,500 ton we used for patching which offsets a tremendous amount of money in years to come as far as buying cold mix,” said Peters.
The Marshall County Highway Department is ready to handle winter weather, according to Jason Peters, Supervisor of County Highways.
He commented on the status of the department in a Marshall County Safety Committee meeting this week. Peters said the highway department has a good system of when to send out workers to clear the roads of snow and ice.
The Marshall County Commissioners approved a contract for gas and diesel with one company – provided some language can be ironed out between the company and the county attorney.
Representatives from North-Central Co-op went before the commissioners Monday morning to discuss the agreement which allows for gasoline and diesel fuel at the highway department with a card reader system and tank monitoring. The company would install the hardware and software and equipment at the highway department at no up-front charge, but a four-and-a-half cent additional cost over the rack price will be assessed on fueling to pay for the cost of the equipment over a five-year period.
The Marshall County Council approved a transfer of funds to take care of the salaries for the two new positions developed at the highway department.
The positions of highway superintendent and general foreman were eliminated and the duties of those two departments were split between two new positions in the highway administration manager and the supervisor of county highways.
The Marshall County Commissioners asked Jerry Ambrose from the highway department about visibility around corn fields. Ambrose said it is becoming an issue.
“When we come up to a corner, we try and stay five feet back,” explained Ambrose. “If you can see in a normal vehicle, not in a pickup truck, that’s where we like to be. I’ve pretty much been trimming just enough so you can see just a little bit more. There are a lot of farmers who have come out and done that. We try and keep it back as much as we can.”
The Marshall County Commissioners approved new hires for two new positions at the highway department.
On Monday morning, Commissioner Deb Griewank presented the recommendations of Laurie Baker as the administration manager at the highway department and Jason Peters as the supervisor of county highways. Baker is currently working in Judge Dean Colvin’s office in superior court while Peters is serving in the capacity of interim highway superintendent.
Commissioner Deb Griewank presented the Marshall County Council members with a request to add two job descriptions to the highway department as approved by the personnel committee.
She explained that the two positions are the result of a different direction in which the committee has envisioned.
The Marshall County Council members will meet today where several items will be discussed on the agenda.
A representative of the personnel committee will approach the council with job description changes for the highway administrative manager and the supervisor of county highways. The council members will consider additional appropriations from court services for a case work manager in the amount of $21,384. The request includes wages and benefits. The highway department is asking for an additional appropriation of $55,000 for road paint and $300,000 for vehicle maintenance. The health department is asking for $5,000 to take care of unsafe buildings.
Starke County Highway Department employees plan to mow county rights-of-way for the first time tomorrow, weather permitting. This will be the first of at least six planned mo
wing cycles this summer. Crews will mow five feet off the edge of the pavement at each road and 20 feet back at intersections in order to clear the necessary sight distance for drivers. The Starke and Marshall County Highway Departments are also coordinating their paving schedules in order to share resources. Starke County will make Marshall County’s pug asphalt, and Marshall will loan Starke County their distributor trucks and two-lane chipper box. The pug will be made in late May for paving in July.
Marshall County officials will be issuing an emergency declaration today, Tuesday, Feb. 4. The emergency declaration will include a “Warning Level” travel advisory for travel upon roadways in the un-incorporated areas of Marshall County.
According to Emergency Management Agency Director Clyde Avery, the “Warning Level” advisory will go into effect at 7 p.m. ET tonight. If the weather and road conditions become a safety concern, the declaration may be put in place earlier than 7 p.m. ET.
Marshall County Highway Superintendent Neal Haeck gave the commissioners and update this week on the activities of his department. Haeck said his department is looking to perform a road cut for resident Joe Stoffer for farm drainage and asphalt surface, beginning this week through Jan. 18. The cut, he said, would take place between 3rd and 4th roads on Grape Road.
Marshall County Highway Superintendent Neal Haeck told the commissioners Monday morning that the dirt giveaway at the highway department is going well. However, he recommended that the program be suspended Aug. 1 until after the summer construction. The commissioners agreed with his request.
Upgrades are in the works for the Marshall County Highway Department, as the county commissioners approved a request to spend money from the Highway Department budget on a new radio communications system.
Highway Superintendent Neal Haeck explained that they previously had several old radios that were nearly useless. Roughly two-thirds of the radios were obsolete several years ago, and the problem has only worsened since then.
The cost for a new system consisting of 35 radios, tower equipment, and a service contract came out to slightly more than $68,000, and the agreement features a GPS tracking system for department vehicles. Haeck said he has been looking forward to this upgrade for several years.
The commissioners approved his request and he expects the equipment to arrive soon.