The weather has kept the Marion County Secondary Roads Department busy thus far.
Heavy rainfall in late April/early May flooded G-71 and approximately 30 gravel roads. A disaster was declared and, according to County Engineer Roger Schletzbaum, representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be coming to assess repairs. Reimbursement for these projects is expected, as G-71 is a federal aid route. Damage is estimated at $75,000.
The last weekend in May brought with it the closure of T-14, north of Pella, and three miles of rock road near the Skunk River, due to flooding. Schletzbaum said he has not seen any disaster declarations for those roads. Repairing those areas required more rock and no pavement work. This damage is estimated at $30,000.
At the time of the interview last Friday, there were still some roads underwater, due to Lake Red Rock’s level rising. Not all of the damage has been assessed for these.
Beyond addressing emergencies, this is the time of year the department gets other construction done. A safety project that will include the reconstruction of the T-15/G-44 intersection (also known as Metcalf Corner) is planned for later this summer. This will include the construction of turning lanes and making it a “T” intersection. Additional warning signs will be erected. Schletzbaum plans to start the project in July. It should take two months to complete.
Another project planned for July/August is an overlay on T-23 from Bussey to Hamilton. This will begin after RAGBRAI®.
Other than that, the County plans to have some repair work done in Tracy, including resurfacing and improving drainage. There are also several minor culvert projects planned all around the county.
During RAGBRAI®’s safety run through the county, several potholes and areas along the edge of the road were identified for repair.
“They were areas we were going to repair, for the most part,” Schletzbaum said. The biggest impact RAGBRAI® will have on the Secondary Roads Department will be on July 25, after riders leave Knoxville.