Scott County roads crews are ready to go repair the damage winter left behind on the county's gravel roads. But in many cases, it is a waiting game for Mother Nature.
That was the message Tuesday when Angie Kersten, assistant county engineer, updated the Scott County Board of Supervisors on the road conditions. Some of the county's roads are still too wet and soggy to handle the county's heavy equipment, she said.
Because of the wet and cold winter and now spring, she said the county is dealing with more frost boils than it has seen since 2008.
Frost boils are created when water can't drain from a roadbed because of a layer of frost underground. The result can be a mud hole, soggy road conditions and even road failures.
Kersten said some of the mud holes are as deep as 4½ feet.
Scott County Chairman Tony Knobbe said one of his big concerns is for farmers needing to haul grain.
"That's one of the reasons why we haven't embargoed roads," Kersten said, adding staff has seen other counties resorting to such measures.
Scott County farmer Rob Ewoldt told supervisors that about a quarter-mile of his half-mile gravel road "is very dangerous."
He said that luckily there has been flooding which is keeping semi trucks from going to the river terminals "or the roads would be a lot worse."
Ewoldt added his road has gotten wider over the years and the gravel layer gets thinner. Having seen gravel wash into the ditches, he said, "It bothers me because I know that's our tax dollars."
The county, including secondary roads, had heard concerns that the county was spending less on gravel in the past. But Kersten said the current budget is $775,000 for replacing gravel.
She added that the department will be seeking approval to spend an additional $125,000 due to the situation. The department will request a budget amendment in May to move the additional funds from its reserves.
"We're committed to going out and repairing all these soft spots as soon as we can," Kersten said. "As each day goes by we are able to haul farther and farther away from the paved roads."