Area landowners and interested community members met with personnel of the Palo Alto County Secondary Road Department on Tuesday, April 15 at the Rodman Community Center. The purpose of the meeting was to learn the details of a plan to reconstruct four and one-half miles of pavement on B65 from the City of Rodman to Highway 15. Those in attendance ranged from landowners along the project to Rodman residents to those who use the road as a route to work.
When finished, the road will have wider shoulders and the grade will be improved which will assist in snow removal efforts. The cutting of the hills should reduce snow drifting problems, according to Joel Fantz, Palo Alto County Secondary Road Engineer. The plans also calls for the old road to be removed, the base stabilized and replaced with 24 feet wide concrete pavement. The pavement will be eight inches thick.
The project's schedule calls for land right-of-ways to be purchased during 2014. Landowners will be able to farm the land through the 2015 season. In December 2015, the project will be let through Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT).
The bridges will be replaced during the 2015 season. The plan calls for the two current bridges to be replaced with one bridge. Landowner Chuck Wirtz expressed concerns about one bridge being able to handle the water that flows in that area.
During the 2016 construction season, the road will be closed to traffic for several months. Local traffic will be allowed to use the road, but Fantz warned it may not be convenient or easy. He also told those gathered that because the project will be don through IDOT, the county will not have control over the timing of the project.
The project will be funded using county secondary road funds as well as Farm to Market road funds and bridge funds. Fantz said the county receives $700,000 per year in the Farm to Market fund and is allowed to save those funds for three years. The county is also allowed to have that fund go in the hole in for three years. The overall cost of the project is approximately $3.3 million for the road improvement, $330,000 for the bridge replacement and an additional $250,000 for right-of-way costs.
Joel Fantz, Palo Alto County Secondary Road Engineer told those gathered the Board of Supervisors is weighing whether the Rodman project is the county's #1 project or if they should spend money on a project by Ruthven.
When asked how soon the Rodman project could be done if work was done in the Ruthven area first, Fantz said it might be 2020 or 2021 before funds would be available.
Board of Supervisor Chairperman Ed Noonan posed the question, "Do you want to wait five to six years to do the project?" to those gathered.
The citizens who spoke up expressed concerns about the bridges if the project was delayed. Mark Besch said he was concerned about the bridges not being done.
Summing up the meeting, Supervisor Keith Wirtz said, "It seems the majority are in favor of going ahead with the project. "
Fantz told the gathering the supervisors would be making their decision fairly soon.