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Bricks are creating problems for county

Friday, March 24, 2006

CHARLESTON -- Bricks dumped into Lateral 1 of Ditch 14 last fall are worse than an eyesore: they will make it impossible to mow the ditch bank.

Commissioner Martin Lucas commented on the brick pile, which is visible from the roadway upon entering Charleston from the Boomland Interstate-57 interchange, during the regular county commission meeting Thursday.

"It's awful," he said. "It's going to take an excavator sitting on the side pulling them up."

"When I first saw them I asked, 'How is the county going to mow that?'" County Clerk Junior DeLay recalled.

"I say we need to send them a letter and make them move it," Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said as his initial reaction. He later said he would go view the problem before contacting the city.

Commissioner Homer Oliver said it is strange the city would make such a mess in such a visible place when city officials have previously asked the county to keep those ditches clean in anticipation of the annual Dogwood-

Azalea Festival.

"That's where all the traffic will be coming in off the interstate," Blumenberg said.

Maintenance to other county-maintained ditches was also discussed.

Lucas said there is a hole on the north side of the tank-car culvert in the St. James Ditch at County Road 414.

Oliver said he has spoken with a county farmer about taking out a culvert in Lateral 3 of Ditch 23 on a farm road and replacing it with a low-water crossing.

Oliver said that area has very little flow and too many lily pads as well.

"It's a big problem," he said. The culvert is too small and is often clogged up by "beavers or trash or whatever."

Lucas said he spoke with someone from the Flagstop Truck Stop who says the business would like to pay to put a concrete bottom on a different section of Lateral 3 of Ditch 23 near the business to keep grass and willow trees from growing and make it easier to keep clean.

In other business Thursday, commissioners discussed the coming blacktopping season.

Blumenberg said the county's blacktop program will include a combination of 1-inch cold-mix asphalt caps, chip-and-seal and sealing oil.

"Chip-and-seal ought to start in April or May," he said, suggesting the lower Dogwood road would be a good place for this method.

Blumenberg estimated the county may do as much as 6-7 miles of cold mix.

He suggested three-quarter inch cold-mix asphalt caps for subdivisions and that most of the work in the East Prairie area "is going to be right there in those subdivisions," Blumenberg said.

Oliver said the county's roads aren't too bad and should hold together well if the county performs necessary maintenance.