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Davison County to make 30-year road plan

Local officials want to know what should happen with the county's roads in the next 30 years.

Representatives of the South Dakota Department of Transportation, Davison County Commission and city of Mitchell met Tuesday afternoon at the Davison County Courthouse to prepare the request for a proposal for Davison County's master transportation plan.

0 Talk about it

Davison County Commission Chairman John Claggett said the report and the presentation of the findings will be important because the county inevitably will need to ask for money regarding roads and bridges.

"We're going to need money," Claggett said. "Frankly, we're going to need to be able to take this data and turn around and go to the public and show them the status of our roads and what our plan is."

The plan, which will be done by a consulting firm yet to be named, will assess the county's roads based on traffic volume counts and crashes, and take into account the future plans for the roads. Officials will hold public meetings and plan to meet with stakeholders, such as area co-ops and school districts, regarding what they would like to see in the county's road system.

The plan will dictate what the county plans to do for the maintenance of roads in the future and which roads could be re-designated, including turning asphalt roads into gravel roads because of a lack of traffic.

Steve Gramm, the project development coordinator for the state DOT, said the studies usually examine pedestrian or bicycle usage in rural areas and also account for potential development projects in the county and area cities.

As the study relates to the cities of Mitchell, Mount Vernon and Ethan, the consultant will examine only roads outside of city limits, but will still consult those entities.

The study is expected to start Aug. 1 and be wrapped up by July 1, 2015. The public will be involved at two stages during the study, with public meetings held at the beginning of the research period and toward the end, when the public will be given an idea of the findings. The plan is to hold public meetings at the Davison County Fairgrounds.

"You have to start prioritizing which roads are going to be most important and it's certainly possible that some asphalt roads have to go back to gravel," Mitchell-based SDDOT engineer Tammy Williams said.

Commissioner Denny Kiner mentioned 247th Street between Loomis and the Mount Vernon oil road, or 397th Avenue, as a potential candidate for being turned to gravel.

The public will also be involved with an online survey regarding roads, which will be hosted on the county's website once the project begins.

Studies are also being done in Yankton and Codington counties, and Brown and Brookings counties are among those who have finished their road studies.

The study is expected to cost $100,000 and 80 percent of that cost will be covered by state and federal sources, while the county will pay $20,000.

Other business

During their regular meeting Tuesday, the commissioners also:

• Discussed problems other counties around the state had making sure voters were registered in the correct precincts for the primary election, most notably Minnehaha County. Auditor Susan Kiepke said the problem stems from new software created by the secretary of state's office, and Davison County's registrations were checked by hand prior to the election, eliminating problems the software caused locally.

• Approved a repair to a 2007 Sterling gravel truck for the county at an estimated cost of $23,000. That will cover a new long block engine, new fuel system and labor and the county has now exhausted its highway department equipment repair budget for the year.

• Denied a request to purchase two new GPS systems for the Weed Department at a cost of $5,610, because the county's current systems still operate properly.

• Approved outstanding bills and minutes.