Davison County Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg told the county commissioners Tuesday that county roads, with the exception of Shanard Road, are open and holding up well under runoff pressures.
"There were no washouts this weekend," he said. "There are some soft areas on rural gravel roads where the water is high on both sides, but otherwise we're doing OK -- as long as we don't get more rain."
Shanard Road was closed Monday from the Davison County side of the James River to Campground Road on the Hanson County side of the river.
Road closure updates are now being posted on the county website, www.davisoncounty.org, and it is likely that subscribers to the Mitchell Department of Public Safety's online Nixle alert system will soon be able to receive e-mail notifications of closures. The Daily Republic also is posting the closures on its Flood Blog, accessible from the home- page at www.mitchellrepublic.com.
Weinberg said the updates are being forwarded directly from his office to the Mitchell Public Safety's dispatch center and the county site.
In other road matters, Weinberg said bidding specifications are not yet complete for repairs to the aging county bridge over the James River at 250th Street, about two miles east of the airport, but should be completed next week. He said the county's consulting engineer, Carey Bretsch, is reviewing the specifications prior to their release for bid.
Bretsch, he said, has also expressed concern that the widening bridge deck joints on the county bridge over Firesteel Creek at North Foster Street could indicate that the bridge abutments may need replacement.
Weinberg said he has confidence in Bretsch's professional judgment but asked the commissioners if they would like a second engineering opinion.
Weinberg said a representative from Hollaway Construction, which handles the majority of county bridge repairs, inspected the abutments and said the structures appeared sound and didn't need replacing.
Commissioner Jerry Fischer recommended against the expense of a second opinion but recommended careful monitoring of the abutments for possible movement. The remaining commissioners agreed, and Commission Chairman John Claggett directed Weinberg to place the bridge on a "watch list."
Injured worker update
Weinberg also reported that highway worker Rodney Mathers, who suffered a head injury in a freak tree felling incident last fall, continues a slow recovery.
"Doctors have told him that he is going to be out for three months to a year," Weinberg said. Mathers continues to have bad headaches and doctors have pulled his commercial driver's license, pending a complete recovery.
If Mathers came back to work now, he would be able to do light work at the Highway Department but would not be able to lift more than 20 pounds, Weinberg said. "I informed Workers' Compensation that we don't have such light-duty work and I told Rodney that he needs to be at 100 percent before coming back."
Weinberg recommended using additional part-time help this summer to make up for any manpower shortage during the busy summer work season, and re-evaluating the situation at a future date.
In other business, the commissioners:
- Gave Mitchell Exchange Club President Tom Day permission to exhibit 100 American flags on the courthouse lawn on March 26-27 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the national Exchange Club and the 45th anniversary of the Mitchell Exchange Club.
- Heard from Director of Equalization Kathy Goetsch, who introduced new hire Christi Smith, of Ethan, the new administrative assistant II in her office.
- Approved a $900 low bid from Hard Drive Central for a new computer for the equalization office.
- Were told by Goetsch that she plans to give the commissioners an update on the equalization appeals process at the commissioners' April 5 meeting.