Page County Engineer J.D. King

Page County Engineer J.D. King speaks in favor of an easement to Fremont County for .09 acres of land located in Manti Park for a bridge repair on Manti Road.

(Clarinda) -- Page County officials are considering upgrading multiple sections of secondary dirt roads into gravel.

At the Page County Board of Supervisor's meeting Tuesday, County Engineer J.D. King presented the board with a "gravel connector map," including the first attempt at where the county could place down gravel to provide better road connections on secondary roads. King says the idea was presented to him by Supervisor Jacob Holmes and has formulated multiple locations with his road superintendent -- amounting to roughly 4.2 miles. One of those locations includes a portion of S Avenue south of Hepburn.

"It's a short piece of dirt in amongst a whole bunch of rock, and 160th Street was petitioned for rock back when I first came to Page County," said King. "So it's kind of an orphan stretch of dirt and it's an inconvenience for blading. You know if he's blading after a rain or something when you like to blade, and he gets up to this stretch on S (Avenue), he can't go through."

He adds that a similar situation is needed on L Avenue, while 105th Street near Coburg and 240th Street are roads King says could also benefit from gravel.

Additionally, he says Q Avenue northeast of College Springs would be another critical connector road in the county's southern portion.

"It was evident to me that when I did fog seal on J52 east of College Springs, that there was no good way to get around," King explained. "When you go east there and this road went through, then the next one's dirt to the north, and the next one's dirt to the south. You couldn't cross it very often. That's the thing about Q (Avenue) -- Q (Avenue) would then run from Duncan Road (270th Street), to J52 and then connects up to J64 all the way down to the Missouri line."

King says Holmes floated the idea of using American Rescue Plan Act funds for the project as the board had previously discussed the expanded types of projects the COVID-19 relief dollars could cover. However, King adds the funding would likely require a public bid on the project, and they would still need to get exact quotes on the price of rock.

However, King adds the amount of rock would likely be similar to that required when a resident petitions for a section of road to receive gravel which is 1,200 tons per mile.

"So 1,200 tons per mile turns into just a little over 5,000 ton," said King. "Then it could be 5,000 at $26 a ton -- which is what we bought rock at last, which is not current price, but it's a benchmark that we got in the spring. So that turns into $130,000."

Supervisor Chuck Morris questioned whether King could include a more significant portion of the county's roughly 120 miles of dirt road. However, King added that this is just the first chunk his department hopes to tackle. King adds that the intent would be to apply the rock in two phases to allow a smoother transition from dirt to gravel.

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