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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Commission postpones decision on grant to improve safety on County Highway 1095

By Charlene Sims, Journal staff

MOUND CITY – Linn County Assistant Public Works Administrator Jessica Hightower discussed the High Risk Rural Roads grant that Linn County has been approved for with the commissioners on Monday, June 19.

Hightower explained to the commissioners that Linn County has been approved for $351,000 grant money with a county match of $102,000. She told them that Linn County could not use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the match.

She said the there were only 19 of these grants awarded to counties across Kansas and Linn County was one of them.

This grant came about because of study that was done about dangerous roads in southeastern Kansas. Linn County Highway 1095 Road from 1650 Road to Kansas Highway 152 fits into this category.

Hightower said that every couple of years the state does a road safety plan. This section of Highway 1095 rose to the top in their plan. The state has indicated that this road would need this grant funding.

She told the commissioners that the grant would pay for guardrails, new stripes, rumble strips and clearing trees and brush around the curves for better vision and ditching signage. She added that since this funding would be for 2025, it might be good to repave Highway 1095 in that location next year so that the striping and rumble strips were not covered up when it was paved.

She said she had talked with county asphalt foreman Tod Moeller about whether that was possible. She said that Moeller told her the county could change its plan for paving more of Wall Street next and do that road instead.

Sheriff Kevin Friend told the commissioners that he wanted to throw in the public safety side of this. One large reason for target Highway 1095 is not that the road is in that bad of condition, it’s that there are a lot of public safety risks there.

“When it comes to a crash investigation, we have a very high intensity of crashes on that area of roadway. A lot of it is not necessarily due to the condition of the road, but it would be everything surrounding the road. It would be guardrail issues, signage issues, clearance for visual path throughout some of the curves and things like that up there,” said Friend.

“I’m sorry to interject,” Friend said. “I just want you to have an understanding of the public safety side of the roadway. We have roadways in Linn County such as north 1077. We used to have a terrible crash rate up there, and it was because of speed and some things like that. And so we made improvement projects in the way we patrol that area.”

On Highway 1095, it wasn’t necessarily a speed issue, but it was a road factor issue, he said. It might be ditching, visual impairments along the side and tree growth, said Friend. Up there recently there was an accident where a vehicle went down and into the trees.

That would be one of those areas that would be addressed. Once again, Friend said that he was not there to alter what the commissioners do but wanted them to understand the public safety side of it too. That’s really why the grant was given.

Commissioner Jim Johnson asked why they would want to hurry up on asphalting that road. He wanted to know when it was last asphalted.

Hightower answered that because reflective paint and rumble strips are a part of the project she thought the county would not want to have it covered up shortly after it is completed.

This project would be in 2025, the let would go out in fall of 2024, she said.

Commission Chair Danny McCullough said that he would like to have Moeller come to the meeting next week to discuss this change in asphalt rotation. He wanted to know where this road fell on his list of priorities before this grant came up.

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