Davison County turned its new Asphalt Zipper road-grinding machine loose Thursday on an infamous stretch of Ohlman Street in northwest Mitchell.
The Zipper worked a quartermile section of Ohlman in the area between West Eighth and West 23rd avenues, Davison County Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg said. Ownership of the one-mile stretch of road is shared between the city and the county, but no joint agreement was finalized between the two entities prior to Thursday’s work.
The already serious road problems facing Davison and other South Dakota counties were made worse this spring when some roads, already saturated from winter runoff, were rendered impassable by heavy rains.
Davison County has about 173 miles of blacktop and roughly 560 miles of county and township gravel roads. It’s unlikely the county will be able to maintain some deteriorating asphalt roads in a safe condition unless those roads are ground up and returned to gravel, according to County Commission Chairman David Weitala.
The Davison County commissioners acted quickly Tuesday to rescind their recent decision to purchase a $163,894 asphalt-grinding machine known as an “Asphalt Zipper.”
Auditor Susan Kiepke said that a check with legal and state-government officials revealed that the county must solicit competitive bids for the specialized machine. The county, by law, is required to seek competitive bids on equipment costing more than $25,000.
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