By TIM HORAN
A semitractor-car collision Sunday on Interstate 70 seven miles east of Abilene resulted in substantial damage to Dickinson County roads.
A car driven by Alonzo N. Lax, 46, of Topeka collided head on with a semi driven by Bruce J. Uhlenkamp, 49, at 10:35 p.m. According to the Kansas Highway Patrol report, Lax was going the wrong way in a construction zone.
Traffic was detoured north on Mink Road to Kansas Highway 18 and back on Kansas Highway 15. The accident could almost a full day to clean up.
“As the result of that, about 20 hours worth of detour created an extremely high amount of damage to Mink Road and some to Jeep due to the heavy traffic and the weight of the traffic,” said County Administrator Brad Homman. “Our roads are not designed for thousands of thousands of loaded semis and, of course, passenger cars. Monday during the day we had, I think, 13 to 15 locations on Mink Road where we had blowouts. The pavement basically disintegrated.”
As soon as I-70 opened up, county crews were busy patching those roads because they were scheduled for the overlay project which is underway in the county.
“When we get that all tallied up, it will be our attempt to file a claim with the insurance company of the individual that caused that accident,” he said. “It’s not our responsibility to handle that type of traffic.”
County personnel directed traffic off Jeep Road to K-15.
“KDOT had flaggers stopping local traffic at the other two ends because detour traffic had priority. It was just bumper-to-bumper,” Homman said.
“If one truck would turn down Jeep, it was monkey see-monkey do. You’d have 40 of them thinking they knew where they were going. And we had a number of blow outs on Jeep as well. Schilling will be overlaying them in a week or two. We deviated from our original schedule. Martin (Tannahill) had asked them (Schilling) to go up and do 3400 Avenue and Fair next to give us time to get these patched up. If we don’t get these holes patched up, they obviously can’t overlay it.”
Dickinson County has been invited to another meeting of commissioners surrounding this county.
“We invited the surrounding county commissioners here to talk about what some of the issues are,” Commissioner Lynn Peterson said, explaining the first such meeting.
Peterson said at that first meeting Dickinson County Chairman LaVerne Myers gave a presentation on the juvenile detention center. Dickinson County shares that facility in Geary County with other counties.
As a result, Saline County now houses its juveniles in that facility.
Commissioner Chamberlin said Morris County will host a similar meeting of area county commissioners on Aug. 28.
The current “reverse 911” system will no longer be available after September. Homman said the county came up with an alternate communication system called Nixle.
“It allows us to make a mass notification to the whole county or a geographical area which we would draw on the computer for whatever purpose: something as simple as a road closing or an evacuation of an area with a landline phone or a registered cell phone,” he said. “There are a lot of other benefits for that service.”
The commission approved the cost of $84,000 and start up costs of $27,000 and to get the data into the system for a total of $11,100.
The commission also approved the minutes of the Aug. 8 work session and special meeting, approved payroll of $334,654 and wire payments of $2,973.82.