Bridge plans presented for county

Davison County's bridges need some work and the county's highway department has a plan. Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg presented the county's bridge program for 2015, with a list of five bridges that will receive work next summer and outli...

Davison County's bridges need some work and the county's highway department has a plan.

Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg presented the county's bridge program for 2015, with a list of five bridges that will receive work next summer and outlined long-term plans for a dozen more bridges.

That plan was presented Tuesday during the Davison County Commission meeting at the Davison County North Offices in Mitchell. The county had 88 bridges that it's responsible for examined this summer as part of a standard every-other-year review.

Of the bridges inspected this summer, Weinberg is recommending that one bridge be closed. The bridge is along 398th Avenue in Union Township between 257th and 258th Streets south of Mount Vernon. Weinberg said the bridge is unsafe.

"I can't see us going around and fixing it up," he said. "There's no sense in spending good money on this when you're never going to improve it."


The bridge is on a township road and Weinberg said landowners have access on each side of the bridge, making it a low-crossing priority. It has a four-ton limit, which makes it tough to cross even with a heavy pickup. It has even lost some of the bridge decking due to vandalism, Weinberg said.

The commissioners said they would start the process of contacting local landowners and township officials to start that process.

The county has five bridges in line to be repaired in 2015.

• 397th Avenue between 249th and 250th Street: Fixing breakup spots off the ends of the bridge and replacing bolt supports that are breaking.

• 265th Street between 405th and 406th Avenue: Problems with bridge pilings beginning to crack, rebuilding supports.

• 408th Avenue between 258th and 259th Street: While the top of the bridge is good, the underside of the bridge is showing cracking in the bridge decking.

• 410th Avenue between 252nd and 252 ½ Street: Replacing bridge beams and replacing riff-raff under the bridge.

• 250th Street between 410th and 411th Avenue: Replacing the bridge's rocker joints, which are bending and replacing the end of the bridge's finger joints.


Weinberg said he expects the county's share of repairs to cost between $20,000 and $40,000 per bridge. He said the county will have $100,000 to put toward bridges in 2015, in part because the county designated $70,000 for bridge repair.

"We will try to do as much as we can afford to do on our level," he said.

The commissioners also got into a conversation about weight limits again when Weinberg said some of the bridges are carrying as much as 200,000 pounds and many of the county's bridges are showing signs of overloading. Commissioner Brenda Bode, speaking as an experienced farmer, said trucks pulling double trailers are far better off than a single trailer that is well overloaded.

"The weight doesn't scare me," she said. "It's about how many axles are carrying that weight."

In many instances, she said it's not feasible for farmers to haul grain in anything less than a gravity box.

"We need to recognize that our bridges need to be built differently than they were 45 years ago," said Commissioner Randy Reider. "Eighty thousand pounds was more than enough 45 years ago but times change."

Weinberg said that's the case, with bridge pilings being built nearly twice as wide as they were previously to support larger vehicles.

Reider added that he thought the penalties should be stiffer against overweight vehicles, to allow those fines to be used for future repairs. Later, he commended Weinberg for being prepared and having the county ready if money becomes available from the state level.


County re-ups jail food deal

The county's commissioners agreed to a three-year contract with their current jail food service provider, with the intent of saving some money.

The commissioners approved a contract with CBM Managed Services, of Sioux Falls, to supply the food services for the Davison County Jail, effective Jan. 1, 2015.

According to the contract, the county will take on a 2.5 percent price increase in 2015 and 2016, followed by no price increase in 2017. The other option presented to the county was a one-year deal, which would have carried a 3.1 percent price increase. Those increases are based on the Consumer Price Index for the Midwest region and for the price of food away from home category.

Chairman John Claggett wanted to table the matter for an extra week to research the basis of the particular index CBM was citing. Bode countered by saying the contract looked like a good one for the county, especially looking at the deal over three years.

"They're asking for X amount. We either take it or we don't," she said.

The county owns the equipment used by CBM, who hires the employees and sets the menus. Inmates receive a warm breakfast, a soup and sandwich lunch and full supper, according to County Jail Administrator Don Radel.

"I think they've been good and we've seen some savings," he said. "They've got the experience."


Other business

During their regular meeting Tuesday, the commissioners:

• Briefly discussed the future of county-owned land behind Thune's True Value in the instance that the proposed indoor swimming pool is connected to the Mitchell Recreation Center. The city, according to Claggett, has expressed interest in making more parking available for events like swim meets. The matter will be discussed more later this month.

• Sat as the board of adjustment and approved a variance request for Lin Musick in Beulah Township to create a lot size of 7.12 acres.

• Approved three plat requests: Plat of Lots 1, 2, 3 and 4 of Harmony Addition in the southeast quarter of Section 21, Beulah Township at the request of Lin Musick; Lot 1 in the west half of the northwest quarter, also described as Lot 1, All in Section 31, Perry Township, at the request of Ross Haigh; Lot 1 of Haley Addition in Government Lots 3 & 4 of the Northwest quarter of Section 3, Mitchell Township, at the request of Mike Haley.

• Increased the wages of two full-time corrections officers, following six-month probationary periods: Ginger Faas increases to $18.20 per hour and Randy Gilbert increases to $14.41 per hour.

• Approved the purchase order of a new fuel system for the Davison County Highway Shop. The system is expected to cost about $23,000 but will be installed next year.

• Set time and date for a supplemental budget public hearing as Dec. 23 at 9:15 a.m. The sheriff's office is requesting $65,000 and the jail is requesting $120,000, most of which is in overtime.


• Announced that county offices will have regular hours on Christmas Eve and will be closed Dec. 26, to follow state offices on those two days. Under an old policy, the county would close at either noon or 1 p.m., but the commissioners said the current policy is follow state schedules.

• Cancelled their meeting scheduled for Dec. 30, making Dec. 23 the last meeting of 2014.

• Approved bills, timesheets, previous meeting's minutes.

Traxler is the assistant editor and sports editor for the Mitchell Republic. He's worked for the newspaper since 2014 and has covered a wide variety of topics. He can be reached at
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