By Steve Woodhouse
Knoxville — The Marion County Secondary Road Department is seeking a grant for a feasibility study regarding future transportation needs for Knoxville and Pella.
Application for the grant, which would require a 20 percent match by local entities, was approved by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning. The total cost of the study is $99,330 through the Central Iowa Regional Transportation Planning Alliance (CIRTPA). The City of Knoxville, City of Pella and Marion County are each members of CIRTPA.
Approval for the grant should be announced by March 1. Costs for each city would be approximately $5,000, with Marion County paying $10,000.
"We know there are issues traveling between Knoxville and Pella," Supervisor Mark Raymie said. He did not want to commit County funds without being sure the study would be used.
Discussion with Steve McCombs of the Secondary Road Department indicated there is concern about the existing routes between Knoxville and Pella. The highways, as well as the Highway 14 Mile Long Bridge over Lake Red Rock, are all aging. The study will help address the needs.
When asked after the meeting why the study is so expensive, McCombs said it is because engineers' fees are high. Engineers will perform the study. If approved, the grant will also provide funding for the study to include routes between Knoxville and Indianola.
The supervisors also approved load limit reductions on three County bridges. The first, located on Tyler Street, between 30th and 40th in the southwest portion of the county, has been reduced to 11 tons. The second, located on Nixon, east of 92nd, west of Knoxville, has been reduced to 20 tons. Finally, a bridge on Hays Drive, west of Pleasantville, has been reduced to 15 tons.
McCombs indicated that he did not know of any major impact the load reductions will have on traffic, though there is likely to be some. The load limit reductions followed recommendations from bridge inspections.
Other supervisors' notes:
• Approved the "construction evaluation resolution" relating to the construction of any confinement operation structures in 2013. This is the Master Matrix, adopted by nearly every county in Iowa, to guide counties through hog confinement construction. Supervisor Craig Agan said he had spoken with a representative from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, who seemed to indicate that the legislation guiding the Master Matrix may need to be revisited.
• Appointed Dennis Haselhuhn to the Board of Adjustment. Zoning Administrator Missy Poffenbarger said Haselhuhn has served on this board since November 2002. The board is gender-balanced.
• Appointed Neulyn Miller to the Zoning Commission. Poffenbarger said this commission needs another member, preferably female. Miller has been on the commission since 2007. The commission is currently updating Marion County's Comprehensive Plan.
• The next regular Board of Supervisors' meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 9 a.m.