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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Commission postpones signing state road safety agreement

Updated: Jun 4

By Charlene Sims,

MOUND CITY – The Linn County Commissioners have postponed signing an agreement for the High-Risk Rural Roads grant that the county had been awarded by the state.

 The commission had approved applying for the grant at the Jan. 8 commission meeting. Linn County had received one in 2023 to make safety changes to County Road 1095 from 1650 Road to Kansas Highway 152.

The agreement the commissioners postponed signing at their meeting on Tuesday, May 28, would add safety improvements to County Road 1095 from 1150 to 1650 roads.

All three commissioners voted on Jan. 8, to have Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower apply for the grant for the project, which would have a total cost of $470,000. Linn County’s share would be $104,000. 

Commissioner Danny McCullough asked if they were sure this is what they wanted to do. He said he was worried about getting in the position they were in with the Hell’s Bend bridge. 

“Is this the avenue we want to go?” asked McCullough.

Commission Chair Jason Hightower asked McCullough if he had another plan to put in.

McCullough said he wasn’t saying he was against the plan but questioned if this road was on the county’s 10-year plan.

Commissioner Jim Johnson also asked who decided that this road was the one that needed to have safety improvements. 

Commissioner Hightower told them that the selection of this road was based on the risk score from the Local Road Safety Plan (LRSP) that was conducted by the state in 2021.

At the June 19, 2023 meeting, Jessica Hightower had explained all of this to the commissioners. At that time, she told the commissioners that County Road 1095 had been at the top of the roads that were determined dangerous by the LRSP inspection. 

Also at the June 2023 meeting, Jessica Hightower 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 brought up that since this funding would be for 2025, it might be good to repave County Road 1095 in that location in 2024 so that the striping and rumble strips were not covered up when it was paved.

The discussion last year included changing the paving plan so that that road could be paved so it would be ready for striping.

At that time Sheriff Kevin Friend endorsed the grant because of the number of accidents that occur along that section of roadway. 

Jessica Hightower had told the commissioners that she had talked with Tod Moeller the asphalt foreman about whether that was possible. She said that Moeller said 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 this is it’s not the road is in that bad of condition, it’s that there are a lot of public safety risks there.

At the Tuesday, May 28, meeting Johnson asked if the agreement had to be signed that day. 

County Clerk David Lamb said that it was due July 1.

Johnson said he thought that the agreement could wait until next week when Public Works Director Shaun West was available and could answer questions about the grant.

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