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Summerland, Orchard roads discussed at commissioners meeting

 


Concerns about road conditions leading to the new Summerland School site resurfaced Tuesday, during the Antelope County Commissioners meeting, in Neligh.

District patron and Antelope County resident Brian Brodersen, of rural Ewing, asked commissioners if a speed reduction or road repairs are planned before the first bell rings next school year.

Brodersen, who resides along Summerland Road, said, “For one, it’s not wide. There’s no lines. The holes get to be tremendous. And the speed ...”

Following the meeting, in a phone interview with the Advocate-Messenger, Summerland Superintendent Dale Martin said school and county officials agreed to a flashing yellow light on both sides of the school, along the Orchard Road.

“I believe commissioners agreed to a divided lane, one mile on both sides of the intersection,” Martin said.

A light will also be placed on an electric pole near the intersetion to illuminate it.

Commissioner Eli Jacob said the board previously discussed putting lines on the road.

Antelope County road boss Aaron Boggs said Brodersen’s concerns are valid.

“There’s no shoulders on that road. They’re narrow the way they are. The school was put on two county roads that have one-lane traffic, sometimes,” Boggs said.

Brodersen asked if regulations for road width are met on the two roadways.

Boggs said regulations in place relate to new road construction.

“In my mind, we’re almost sitting here waiting until there’s a bad accident and someone gets killed before we’re going to take notice to do this,” Brodersen said. “School’s going to be opening up here in several months.”

Boggs said a road study for those stretches of road, was abandoned.

“Technically, the only thing we’ve had to do is signage for the intersection. That was done about a year ago,” Boggs said. “The only way to fix those roads properly is to go and widen them, it’s going to take a bond to do it. A county-wide bond to do it.”

Commissioners were asked if they were taking a wait-and-see approach to fixing the roads.

Boggs noted that all county roads are the same standard.

“Some are 18 feet wide, some are 20 feet wide. New construction is wider, but these (asphalt) roads are old construction,” he said.

If an overlay is added to a county road or if a road is widened, except if a segment is torn or ground up or shoulders widened, the county is at a 3R standard.

“We’re not here to tell you how to drive. I understand your concerns and thoughts, but in the same sense, our budget is not set to build 11 miles and three miles of grinding road. We struggle fixing the roads we have,” Boggs said.

Commissioner Dean Smith said he told school officials a different location should have been selected.

“When they came here with their engineers and their architects for the first approval, I told him, ‘You should find a different place to build your school.’”

According to Smith, constituents of the district were told school officials “would go above the commissioners and get the road built.”

Chairman Charlie Henery said commissioners need to be concerned about safety.

“Are we going to spend $20 million?” Smith asked.

“That’s not what I’m saying,” Henery said.

Jacob suggested adding a center line to the stretches of road.

Boggs said if that feature is added to one road, it would need to be added to every stretch of county road.

“You’re talking about $500 per mile,” Henery said.

“You’ll need to find someone who is qualified to make lane determination,” Boggs said.

Smith said discussion should be directed toward school officials.

“So with the lines, your hands are tied?” Brodersen asked.

Commissioner Carolyn Pedersen asked if Brodersen thought the speed limit should be lowered in the area.

“Yes,” he said. “Get those damn trucks to slow down.”

Pedersen asked if highway superintendent could conduct a road study.

Smith said speed limit signs cannot be erected to slow down traffic.

Boggs said yellow warning signs could be placed in the area, but they would be a recommendation and are not enforceable.

“I understand your concerns, but our hands are tied,” Boggs said.

 

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