Highlights from a report to Cass County Commissioners by highway superintendent Steve Easley and project coordinator Jeff Smith:

Easley informed the commissioners that the bad weather had kept the department busy during the past couple of weeks.

He said that the department was maintaining its adjustable work schedule during bad weather events, which provides the department flexibility on work hours during the day. He said that feedback from the public appears to be positive. The department has used some overtime for its drivers, and on Jan. 10 worked only four hours to counteract this.

Easley said that after issues experienced with vehicles and cold weather, one of the shop personnel is now coming in a half-hour before the scheduled start time to make sure all the vehicles are up and running.

When the other drivers come in, they can do their walk around checks and get on the road almost immediately. The one individual performing the start-up is then allowed to leave a half hour early if no other issues develop during the day.

Easley said on Jan. 8 the department, with assistance from John O’Brien from Central Paving, completed a 400-ton sample mix of sand, salt and boost. On Jan. 10, the mix was applied to Logansport Road and Cass Station Road.

Easley said that initial feedback from drivers and supervisor Pat Brown was positive with the mix considered to have the same effect as the mix of salt and sand only. He said tests would be expanded to a larger number of roads, and he would have a cost estimate of the mix once these tests were completed.

Easley told the commissioners that the department was compiling a list of county highway projects that might be eligible for funds from an economic stimulus package from the federal government. He said that the “shovel ready” status of the projects might prove problematic.

Jeff Smith informed the commissioners that a meeting had been held on Jan. 8 with Waste Management to discuss drainage issues affecting winter travel on Morgan Hill Road. He said that short and long-term resolutions were discussed and a plan to perform additional corrective work this spring or summer is being compiled.

Smith said that the department was meeting with INDOT to initiate discussions on the relinquishment of portions of Ind. 25 South to coincide with the construction and completion of the Hoosier Heartland Highway through Cass County.

Smith said an ordinance on proposed speed limit change on 475E at Anoka was ready for commissioners’ review. The decision to reduce the speed limit to 30 mph from 40 mph was unanimously approved at Tuesday’s meeting.

Smith said the final cost of a bridge on 500E over Mud Ranch Ditch would be significantly less than the original estimate of $250,000.

The department has received two design drawings from DLZ for bridges on 650N over Strubhar Ditch 650N over Fredrick’s Ditch. The estimated cost of the projects is $250,000 each. Smith said the department would move forward with soil testing and once completed, would prepare the two projects for approval by the commissioners and county council.

The department still needs to replace damaged guardrails on 500S just east of 850E. Smith said repairs would be scheduled as weather allowed.

Smith said planning was under way on major road repairs on 800N between 600E and 700E and on 800E just north of 800N.

Both have had ongoing standing water issues that need to be corrected, he said. The department may need assistance from the Cass County Drainage Board to resolve the issue. Smith said information had been submitted to Commissioner Dave Arnold and Surveyor Jenny Clark for review.

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