Road Board pressed again on Buck Lake Road repairs

IRON RIVER—Buck Lake Road and Rainbow Trail in Mastodon Township are not on the list of Iron County primary roads in line for improvements, and a resident of that area renewed her complaints about the roads’ condition during the Road Commission’s April 7 regular meeting.
    Sue Borsch, who attended with her husband Dave, said they live at the end of Rainbow Trail. Last year, she spoke to the board about the road’s “horrific” condition. “The residents, of course, were hoping and expecting the roads to be repaired or redone,” she said this time.
    Instead, she said, the Road Commission decided to do “what you call scarify and we call destroy” the roads. She said the surface work did not go deep enough—it did not totally eliminate potholes, and the scarified road, she said, has a washboard-like surface.
    She also voiced fears about dust “and a lot of other problems we didn’t have before. At least before, we could go around the potholes.
    “It seems contradictory,” she said, “that if it’s bad enough to do that to, why isn’t it on the list to be fixed in front of some of these other road projects that aren’t anywhere near where our road was?”
    Commissioner Dan Germic said Buck Lake Road was scarified last year as a temporary measure “until it could be taken care of correctly.” He also noted that a recent Road Commission policy insures that any roads that get scarified will also be treated with chloride to eliminate dust problems. “You should not have a dust issue there.”
    Buck Lake Road (including Rainbow Trail) is considered a primary road and eligible for federal funding for road improvements. It is on the county’s list of future rural task force projects.
    While it has not been scheduled yet, the project could move up now that the Road Commission has pushed back plans for an Alpha bypass indefinitely.
    The bypass had been scheduled for 2017—now, other county projects can use the funding allocated. “I think we’re making progress to address Buck Lake Road,” Germic said.
    Many years ago, Superintendent Doug Tomasoski said, mine rock was used on the road—that is the cause of the red dust that bedevils homeowners today. “It was quick and inexpensive back in the day,” he said, “because there was a lot of mine rock around. It made sense at the time.”
    Trustee Raymond Kudwa said Mastodon Township’s board last year offered to put an asphalt overlay on Buck
 Lake Road if the Road Commission would pay 50 percent of the cost. “We had this in writing,” he said, “that we were going to offer you guys to overlay that.”
    “We were supposed to pay half,” Road Commissioner Charles Battan replied. “We considered that a waste of money. That’s why we decided to scarify.”
    ● Bids for this year’s local road project bids were opened during the March meeting and sent to the townships. Several have already accepted the bids, and Tomasoski will be preparing agreements for their formal approval.
    Mastodon Township Supervisor Frank Siewiorek said his township has decided to no longer rebuild township roads. Instead, it will invest in sealcoats and overlays.
    That means the trustees need to learn more about the pluses and minuses of different road surfaces. Siewiorek asked for written information, such as how long the various surfaces last and how often they need to be reapplied.
    Tomasoski offered to attend a future township meeting to help trustees sort out the various options. He said Mike Mottes of Fahrner Construction could also attend.
    Commissioner Ernest Schmidt referred to the chipseal work done by Fahrner on Pentoga Trail last year. “That came out fantastic,” he said.
    Commissioner Joe Sabol talked about base stabilization and full depth reclamation. A presentation on the process was held here by H.G. Meigs of Portage, Wis., in March.
    “That would help the townships a lot, I think,” he said. “Those guys, they knew what they were talking about.”

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