County news

It’s been a challenging spring for the Dickinson County Road and Bridge Department.

First, heavy rains in May and then again in June caused flooding that washed out a number of roads and bridges and delayed work on summer road asphalt projects.

Then recently, a county-owned dump truck was damaged during an accident at the APAC Shears asphalt batch plant located just north of the Dickinson County transfer station.

The accident not only put the dump truck — which was being used to haul asphalt for roadwork — out of commission, but also destroyed the front end of the vehicle that was specially equipped to plow snow.

The incident occurred when an APAC employee backed a loader at a high rate of speed into the front of the county dump truck while it was in line getting loaded with asphalt. The impact damaged the engine and the special equipment, hydraulics and electronics used to operate the snowplow and a salt spreader.

County Administrator Brad Homman said Wednesday that APAC Shears had agreed to pay for the repairs which are estimated to be in the $42,000 range.

However, during the July 18 meeting it was unknown what APAC Shears would do. At that time Homman told commissioners that if an insurance claim was made, the truck would be totaled which means the county would only receive $40,000 for the value of the truck.

Unfortunately, it would cost the county $180,000 to buy a new truck and have the special equipment installed.

“We’re not in a position to replace that truck, a 2012 model with low miles, this soon. We could have got several years out of it,” Homman said, explaining it was good that APAC decided to pay to repair the truck.

Fine tuning a

subdivision plat

An item that was expected to be on the agenda regarding a five-lot subdivision plat proposed for north of Abilene was removed at the developer’s request in order to fine-tune the plat.

The general location of the proposed subdivision is just north of the northeast corner of the Abilene city limits, west of Hawk Road and east of the housing development on north Haven Drive.

A large number of area residents attended the July 11 commission meeting, expressing opposition to a zoning request changing the zoning from agricultural to suburban residential. While commissioners unanimously approved the zoning reclassification on July 11, they planned to address the plat at the July 18 meeting.

Commission Chairman Lynn Peterson said the plat would be on the agenda again at a later time and that affected area residents would be notified.

Replacing a loader

As anyone who owns a vehicle knows, problems can come out of nowhere. The same is true for the county. Commissioners on Thursday approved buying a used 2017 Volvo wheel loader for $83,950 from the Van Keppel Co., to replace a 1994 Caterpillar unit with a failed transmission.

The loader is used by the county’s environmental services department at the transfer station.

Homman said staff reached out to three different vendors seeking information and pricing on any used machines they had available.

“There’s some variation on pricing because it’s not ‘apples to apples,’” Homman explained, noting the pricing is for machines that were all of different sizes.

“It’s what they had available since we’re not specing a new machine,” he said.

The lowest price received was $68,000 for a 2000 Caterpillar from Foley Equipment, but its age was a concern.

“It’s 19 years old, going on 20 years and that could be problematic for us,” Homman explained.

The third machine was for a 2015 John Deere from Praireland Partners priced at $128,000.

Money to pay for the loader will be split between the noxious weed capital outlay budget and the environmental services capital budget. Even though staff did not plan to replace the unit now, it was in the county’s capital plan to update it next year.

“We’ve got the money because it was an anticipated purchase,” Homman said.

Hot roads

In other matters, Homman said county road crews were continuing asphalt work on Rain Road, although last week’s heat index temperatures above the century mark were a challenge.

“They seem to be doing a good job and we’re certainly monitoring them as they’re standing on 300 degree asphalt with the machine and 100-plus degree temps out there,” Homman said.

Also, Peterson said the commission had received an inquiry about the condition of a road and bridge on Epic Road and that Homman had provided information to those making the inquiry.

Contact Kathy Hageman at reporter@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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