BY JONATHAN ZWEYGARDT
Ellis County Public Works crews are looking into how to improve the condition of the Ellis Blacktop, or 120th Avenue south of Ellis.
Public Works Director Bill Ring told the county commission Monday the 5 miles at the south end of the road are in poor condition and are getting worse.
“It’s pushing out on the sides in areas,” Ring said. “The problem with a road that old and that wore out is you can’t just put patch on it anymore.”
Ring said they have talked about repairing it in the past and believe there is only two options. The first would be to repave the road, but that would be extremely expensive, he said.
Ring said paving it again “would be probably a multi-million dollar expense which neither the county nor the Public Works Department feels would be a viable thing to do.”
The less expensive option would be to taking the road back to the rock and gravel base like many of the county roads are now.
Ring said he had a contractor give him an estimate as to what it would cost to mill a portion of the road and mix it back down with rock. The contractor’s estimate was more than $100,000, not include the county’s expenses.
“That’s not a projected expense in this year’s budget,” Ring said. “We could look at the budget deeper to see where we may be able to possibly move some money over.”
According to a traffic count done in April by the Kansas Department of Transportation, approximately 138 vehicles travel the road per day. Ring said it has remained nearly the same for the past five traffic counts.
The road goes back to dirt and sand at the Rush and Ness County line.
Ellis County Commissioner Dustin Roths said it could be dangerous with the way it turns from the asphalt surface to dirt and sand.
He also questioned why it was paved as far south as it is.
“It’s one of those where I wonder why the heck we have a paved road that far out in the middle of nowhere that we have to take care of,” Roths said. “I don’t think multiple million (of) dollars are in our future to try and fix that problem.”
Commissioner Dean Haselhorst said he was contacted about the condition of the road over the weekend. Later that day, that person’s daughter was involved in a rollover accident on 120th just south of Munjor Road. The girl was briefly hospitalized but did not suffer any injuries.
Ring said that accident occurred north of the area that is in disrepair.
CLARIFICATION: The mother of the accident victim told Hays Post on Wednesday that the contact with the commissioner was made earlier in the week, and clarified that the accident was not caused by road conditions.
Public Works crew recently worked to improve that area and a couple of miles just to the south of the town of Ellis.
The commission instructed Ring to look for what the best options would be to improve the road condition and come back to the commission.
In other business, the commission:
• Heard a legislative update from State Sen. Rick Billinger, R-Goodland, and State Rep. Barbara Wasinger, R-Hays.
• Approved the reclassification of a pair of positions within the Register of Deeds office.
• Approved the sale of an extra spray truck to Osborne County and approved a revision of the personnel policy.