BLACKFOOT – Bingham County commissioners worked with a member of the community and Dusty Whited, county road and bridge supervisor, on a request to provide some special attention to a few different gravel roads in the county that are in need of some serious attention.
The request came in after a few roads have been run down, wash-boarded, and windrowed by traffic and farm equipment. The specific roads in question are continually utilized by large farm vehicles as well as semis with trailers, according to Whited.
The resident requested that the county create some crushed lava rock to establish a working road base, which Whited added that it would be in need of crushed gravel for the tops. The reasoning for the top would be to prevent any potential damage from the lava rock on tires.
Commissioner Whitney Manwaring explained that they have used lava rock in the past as a road top and it was hard on vehicle tires. Manwaring was assured that the lava rock would be used as road base and should not be an issue.
Some of the roads that were part of the discussion are not considered to be roads owned by the county, but would have to go through the dedication process to receive county repairs and product to rebuild any damaged roadways. The easements became a point of discussion as they worked through the details, recognizing if they are descriptive, physical easements or if they are prescriptive easements similar to the road that runs along the high transmission power lines in the area being discussed.
Commissioner Mark Bair and Whited are planning to visit the area and bring the information back to the commission to make a decision on the future of these unofficial roads. The commissioners will revisit the subject after more information is available.
Harper-Leavitt Engineering was contracted to conduct a study on the nearly 600 miles of county roads and the information came back that nearly 80% of all of the county roads are in good shape. Kyle Jensen with HLE explained all of the process to the county commissioners following the discussion on the graveled roadways.
He explained that HLE uses a software rating system to help with deciding where the focus of the maintenance on the county road system should be started and where more attention needs to be given to prevent costly, major repairs.
Merkley Lane in two locations, Mitchell Lane, Taylor Road, Blackfoot River Road, Hilltop Road, Moreland Pit Road, and East River Road have all been identified as roads that need immediate attention according the HLE. All of the roads should be repaired to prevent further deterioration and will be micro-sealed or chip sealed as soon as possible.
The county commissioners identified different roads as well that would be good candidates for road repair, included some near Tabor Road and Hoffman Road. These areas are highly traveled during the harvest season and are often discussed as being problems during this time of year.
From the information gathered, the county can better pinpoint where they want to plan their next road construction project to prevent any major issues.