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    This photo from February shows the damage sustained to the overpass that spans the Southwind Rail Trail along Old 169 Highway between Iola and Humboldt.

No waiting for KDOT

County moves ahead on road repairs
The Iola Register

While Allen County officials wait to hear back from the Kansas Department of Transportation about possible repair work on roads used as detours during construction on US-169, commissioner Jerry Daniels recommended the county be proactive and pick out the top two or three spots that need immediate attention.

Mitch Garner, public works director, reported that Darren Petrowsky, who serves as a KDOT representative, has submitted his report to his superiors and is still waiting to hear of their response. 

“I think if we don’t hear anything from KDOT soon, we need to prioritize some of the hot spots and get them done in October,” Daniels said. 

Garner gave commissioners a bid sheet submitted last month by Bettis Asphalt totalling $816,729.25. It included seven repair projects to Old US-169/K-224. 

Commissioners agreed to tour the roads with Garner to see what concerns need addressed before winter weather arrives.

“I think prioritization would be a good way to go about this,” said commissioner Bruce Symes. “I am not that optimistic that we are going to hear back from KDOT anytime soon. And with winter coming it is just going to make the bad spots worse.”

The more expensive projects involve K-224/Hawaii Road from Old US-169 to US-169. This project comes in at $246,330 and requires 2,300 tons of asphalt. Another area needing repair is Old US-169 from Humboldt schools to Connecticut Road, pegged at  $334,125. 

“Bettis Asphalt said that they could get to most of the projects on our list in October,” Garner said. 


COMMISSIONERS approved the purchase of 200 tons of de-icing salt from Frank Bills Trucking Company. The salt will come at a cost of $10,950, up $2 per ton from 2018.

Garner reported the rock crusher is out of commission and reporting 15 error codes. He also stated they should receive bids on a water pump for the landfill. 

“The motor and the pump are both shot, so we need a new one,” Garner said. “It will be pretty pricey. We are down to one and it runs all the time.”

In other news, Garner said the structure is going up at the rural fire station and the county’s job is done at that location. Waverly Construction is building the fire station.

Garner said concrete has been removed at the site of the Humboldt ambulance barn and they have it marked for construction.

Terry Call has been instrumental in working with KDOT to make a driveway change at the Moran site, said Commissioner Bill King.

King also commended the City of Iola for loaning the county 1,000 cones to help mark the work.


COMMISSIONERS approved a change order for $18,331 for construction of the entranceway which will include a curb replacement. Koehn Construction is building the ambulance barn and will do this job as well. The ambulance barn project is now up to $716,331.92.


CARLA NEMECEK of the Southwind Extension Office reported the department is doing various research studies, which are coordinated through Kansas State University and specialists from area offices.

One research project that caught the eyes of commissioners was using spices to combat flies on cattle.

“Everyone is trying to do all these organic things, so they fed garlic, cinnamon and other spices to cattle, instead of chemicals. People take garlic to keep mosquitoes from biting, as well as ticks and other pests,” Nemecek said. “It smells, you can definitely tell which ones are being fed the spices. But it is just a general observation. It is an interesting study.”

Nemecek reported Southwind was named the Kansas State Research district of the year. The group will be recognized in October.

Nemecek said district officials will next address the horse barn on the county fairgrounds, adding the barn is not utilized like it once was.

“The horse project has changed because we don’t have as many horses coming to the barn. We may look at using it differently and try to do some education out there,” she said. “We only had five or six out there this year.”


— Also approved was a new roof to cover the area by the kitchen where volunteers pick up Meals on Wheels. This will keep volunteers protected from inclement weather while they wait to pick up meals.

Whitworth Construction will build the roof at a cost of $6,275.00.

Superior Builders LLC. submitted a bid of $6,351.40.






The Iola Register

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