The Maintenance division is responsible for roadway maintenance, snow and ice control, drainage district tile repair, ditch cleaning, roadway signing and bridge and culvert repair. The Central Maintenance Facility (ph. 993-5801) is located at 23380 250th Street along the east side of Highway 169, just north of the County Care Facility.
Normal business hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday from May to Labor Day.
Road maintenance activities are generally focused on the 200 miles of paved or 700 miles of granular surfaced roads. There are four miles of dirt roadways that are classified as Level B, which is a lower standard of service.
Contractors are generally hired to perform specialized activities on the paved roads such as full width resurfacing or reconstruction, extensive pavement repair, pavement marking and joint sealing. County personnel are responsible for limited pavement repair, shoulder maintenance, mowing and brush control.
Granular surfaced roads are maintained by the regular application of either rock (a/k/a limestone) or gravel by county personnel. Since the available limestone quarries are located south of I-80, it has been easier to apply rock on the south half of the county and haul gravel from the county pits near Adel or Minburn to the north half. The county does apply rock to the heavier traveled roads north of Highway 44 since it is more durable that gravel. To haul rock more efficiently, the county has purchased four trailers that are towed behind the larger dump trucks.
Motor grader operators are assigned to specific districts and are responsible for the periodic blading of the granular roads. Given the limited range of these machines, they are housed in remote sheds at Granger, Perry, Redfield and Adel.
Bridge and Culvert Maintenance
County personnel maintain the drainage structures with assistance from contractors for specialized services such as deck overlays and guardrail installation. Bridges are inspected on a two-year cycle and posted whenever the carrying capacity becomes less than forty tons. Agricultural equipment is required to respect those postings with the exception of those units that receive a hardship exemption from the Department.
During snowstorms, trucks are assigned to the paved roads and motor graders to the granular roads. Generally, the crews are not sent out on the paved roads if less than one inch of snow is expected or onto the granular roads if less than three inches is expected. These criteria are detailed in the County Snow Ordinance.
Winter maintenance operations have improved with the available technology. Storms are monitored from remote sensing stations and fought with modern equipment. Three trucks carry on-board liquid calcium to pre-wets and thereby enhance the effectiveness of the salt, particularly during colder weather. The Department has recently invested in a salt dome to insure an adequate supply of material that is critical to clear the paved roads. Another tool that has been added is four mid-mount snowplows that enable the truck operator to clear the road and shoulder in one pass.
Drainage Districts, Tile Crossings and Entrances
The Board of Supervisors are trustees for 50± active districts within the county. Upon notification of a problem, the Board will often direct the Engineer and/or the Tile Foreman to investigate and advise. The Tile Crew will perform routine maintenance on District drainage structures, with more extensive work done by a contractor. Often, property owners will refer to "county tile" which is a misnomer. There is no tile outside the right of way that is owned by the county. Those property owners within the District are the owners of the tile and the Board is simply the caretaker.
Drainage tile that crosses a county roadway is the Department's responsibility to install, repair or replace. Please contact the office (993-4289) if there is a question about a tile crossing the county road.
Entrances into fields, homes and businesses are the property owner's responsibility to build and maintain. An access permit is required prior to any construction. Although there is no charge for the permit, the Road Superintendent must meet with the applicant on-site to evaluate sight distances and review construction standards.
The county cleans ditches to maintain or improve roadway drainage. Additionally, ditches are used for snow storage during winter months. Requests for ditch cleaning have developed a lengthy backlog and are prioritized by the need and location. Often, coordination for utility locations can require three days to coordinate; therefore, our operators cannot always respond quickly to requests that have not been scheduled even though they are in the neighborhood. Crews attempt to accommodate requests for dirt removed from the ditch, but if the adjoining property owner asks for the material, it is quickest and easiest to dispose on-site.