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Stark County eyes road projects for construction season

Stark County could be on its way to a busy road construction season this year.

Tim Kelly with Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson in Dickinson presented the county commissioners with ideas to add to the list of projects to be funded by the mill levy.

The commission last revised a proposed mill levy program for roads in 2003 for $168,170 and included the removal, addition and completion of several road and bridge projects.

A committee, which included County Road Superintendent Al Heiser and County Commissioner Russ Hoff, came up with the recent recommendations.

Heiser said the committee will meet again today about the proposed projects, which had been previously approved by the County Commission. The projects will still need approval from the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

The mill levy was first passed by Stark County voters in 1994, and the County Commission is authorized to revise the levy on a regular basis.

"What the county has proposed for the 2013 revision is to add paved roads to the county in the mill levy," Kelly said. "This would give the County Commission the flexibility to use mill levy funds for any of the paved road projects, which would include Highway 10 the South Heart Road, the Taylor Road, the road out to the dump ground, and ultimately, the road that is being proposed for paving this year, which is from South Heart north."

Heiser said he's found that the county's road needs are changing.

"One of the biggest changes was getting Highway 10 on our plan," he said. "We've always kind of struggled getting revenue sources for Highway 10 and this is good revenue because if you drive throughout the state, the roads that aren't well-maintained in pavement you can really tell it. That's what's happening from the underpass east of Richardton to the county line by Hebron.

"That road is in dire need of some major repairs and we've been tossing it around for year, and this is a good funding source for us to get that project accomplished," he said. "Even with (Interstate) 94 there, it's amazing how many people still like to drive Highway 10."

Kelly said one road discussed in meetings with commissioners that did not get added to the proposed project list was that 38th Street Southwest to the Whiting gas plant, which is 1 1/2 miles south of Belfield.

In total, the proposed plan includes 81 miles of paving and seal coating to the mill levy and 15 bridges.

"That gives the county the flexibility to use mill levy dollars to address any issues on those major roads," Kelly said. "In addition, it was recommended to remove a couple of miles of grading in the southwest corner of the county, west of U.S. Highway 85 and to add 61 miles of grading at various locations throughout the county."

Two bridges located south of Richardton and the Heart River, west of Highway 8, were also included in the proposal.

Kelly said other projects in the previous revision in 2003 that weren't completed remain on the mill levy.