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Gage County Board talks gravel policy

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Gage County townships will have the option to swap gravel for rock on two miles of road in the coming year.

The County Board of Supervisors discussed its policy on swapping gravel for rock on township roads during Wednesday’s regular meeting, where it was decided two miles can be substituted.

Highway superintendent Galen Engel said the townships were always allowed to swap gravel for rock to be used on one mile of road, but last year that number was increased to two miles of road.

It was stated at the meeting that most townships are behind on their gravel allotments. Four townships have yet to receive their spring of 2020 allotments, which will be followed by the fall 2020 allotments before this year’s begin.

Additionally with the policy to again allow two miles to be swapped, townships will be allowed to decide the size of rock they swap for.

“Most of the time when they come in to switch a mile of gravel for a mile of rock it’s because their road base is pretty well toast, it’s turned into mud,” Engel said. “There have been times we’ve had some ask for 1 inch rock, saying it’s mud but it’s not deep mud. We just had the policy that we put down 1 ½ inch rock… If you want to switch that to two mile of gravel for two miles of rock, if you want to leave that rock at the township’s discretion what they want to put on there, I would have no problem with that.”

Board member Terry Jurgens made the proposal to allow two miles to be substituted, saying it could help the county catch up on its allotments.

“What I would recommend because of the availability of materials, gravel and everything else, the discussion was the rock probably wouldn’t last as long as the harder gravel material but the gravel material, we haven’t even delivered our full allocations from last year,” he said. “I would recommend they have the option to trade two miles, their allocation for rock if that’s what they want.”

The County Board on Wednesday also received gravel bids for the roads, which are expected to be discussed and approved at the next regular meeting in two weeks.

The board discussed using a ⅝ inch product, though Board Chairman Erich Tiemann said the product doesn’t hold up as well, however, it may be available sooner.

“It’s cheaper, it’s popular on driveways, I think it’s something that could be put on a hard road,” he said. “If it’s a good road and you’re graveling it I think you could use it. It’s not going to be a fix all, though. It’s not like you use ⅝ and say we don’t have to do anything again. It’s not going to be there as long as gravel, but we might get it there this year.”

Tiemann added much of the conversation has shifted from wanting a quality road material to taking whatever they can get to improve the roads.

“We used to hear complaints on gravel, it’s sandy or can we have different producers, this is not good gravel,” Tiemann said. “I don’t hear that as much now as I hear I want material, period.”

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