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Motorists advised to avoid Overland
August 19, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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Motorists who use East Overland from 21st Avenue to reach Highway 26 will need to find an alternate route for the next month.

At their August 15 meeting, Scotts Bluff County Commissioners gave the go-ahead for Western Sugar to close the road while it moves its pressed pulp conveyor from the north to the south side of the street before the beet harvest gets underway on September 15.

“We’re at the point where we want to move the conveyor that goes across East Overland,” said Luke Rust, who spoke on behalf of Western Sugar. “We think that will improve overall safety because we won’t have pulp on the road.”

Cranes will need to be placed on the street to move the conveyor, so Rust asked the County board to close the road for 30 days while they complete the work.

Rust said once the conveyer is moved, beet pulp will be stored in the current pellet building on the corner of 21st and East Overland.

Rust said the board hadn’t contacted East Overland merchants directly about the proposed closure. The company had only two complaints about construction on that section of street. They’ve also worked with the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration to assure the work done close to the street was conducted safely.

The short section of street has been a point of contention in the past. Several years ago, Western Sugar asked to close the street permanently. But several East Overland merchants said the closure would be detrimental to their businesses because the west end of the street already was one way.

One of the commissioners who stood against that initial request was Sherry Blaha. “You’ve known about this for quite some time,” she said at Monday’s meeting. “You haven’t given any notice to the businesses along East Overland. It’s important for them to have access.”

Commissioners approved the closure 3-1 with Blaha casting the no vote. The road is now closed to traffic until September 15 and barricades are in place to keep people from driving into closed areas.

Also, during the Monday meeting, commissioners approved an agreement between the county and Regional West Health Services to make permanent the interim appointment of Paulette Schnell as Health Director for the county.

She has been the interim director since the resignation of long-time director Bill Wineman earlier this summer.

Commissioners also accepted the resignation of Ann Rosenberry-Kurtz, who has served as Clerk of the District Court for the past 22 years.
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