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County schedules three road projects for 2016
February 19, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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Scotts Bluff County scheduled three roads projects for the upcoming season, including replacing an aging bridge on Spring Creek Road west of Scottsbluff.

Bob Bennett, Scotts Bluff County Highway Superintendent, presented his one- and six-year road plan to the County Board at its Feb. 16 meeting.

Bennett told the board the bridge on Spring Creek Road at County Road 15 needs to be replaced. The bridge has a wooden substructure with steel and concrete on top, but the wood is in very poor condition.

“We need to conduct a hydraulics study to determine (if we need a replacement bridge) or if we can (install) a box culvert, which would cost much less.”

With a box culvert, the project could cost between $200,000 and $250,000.

Another project that Bennett said has been on the plan “forever” is scheduled for this year. Most of the project’s delay time was taken up in property condemnation proceedings. In 2016, a new section of gravel road will be graded on County Road 5 from County Road C to Highway 26, about a quarter mile. The cost of the road is estimated at $40,000, mostly for grader work.

The county’s third project on the one-year road plan requires putting down concrete on a section of East Overland in front of the sugar factory, just east of Sugar Factory Road.

“That project is being done in two or three phases to replace a section of road that’s really rough,” Bennett said. “The first part would pour a little over 200 feet of concrete along with curb and gutter starting on the west end. They poured asphalt in there years ago, and in the summer months heavy truck start shoving the asphalt. This project is just a start to making the road a lot smoother.”

He said how much of the road can be replaced with concrete depends on the bids. He has about $300,000 to work with on the project and at least $200,000 of work will be done this year. The roadway is about 40-feet wide and concrete will be put in to a depth of one foot.

In 2012, the county considered closing that section of East Overland from Sugar Factory Road to Highway 26 at the request of the sugar factory. However, East Overland merchants complained, saying it would close off one of the entrances from the highway to their business district.

As for the six-year plan, Bennett said he won’t be adding additional projects, as there are already about 50 projects on the list. If emergency work is needed at any one of those projects, Bennett would be required to go through the Board of Public Works Classifications and Standards, which would either approve or disapprove the work.

Bennett said all the county’s approximate 215 bridges are inspected every two years. Many times when a bridge is labeled “obsolete,” it’s still structurally sound but too narrow to accommodate modern farm equipment. A resolution has since been passed by the county board requiring future bridges be at least 30 feet wide.

Bennett said the county still has just under 50 timber bridges left, and their eventual replacement would be a big help to the county’s road budget. In many cases, a culvert would suffice.
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