Public works shows new digsWhile one Douglas County project is just getting started – the Douglas County Jail – another one has been completed – Douglas County Public Works. An open house for the new facility took place last Thursday, July 30.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
While one Douglas County project is just getting started – the Douglas County Jail – another one has been completed – Douglas County Public Works.
An open house for the new facility took place last Thursday, July 30.
Douglas County Commissioners Bev Bales, Norm Salto, Dan Olson and Jerry Johnson, along with public works employees, provided tours to the public during the open house celebration.
Although the building is completed and has been open since the beginning of June, there is still work being done on the property.
The county is working toward extending 5th Avenue so that there is another entrance onto the property. Currently, there is only one entrance, which is on Willow Drive.
In order to extend 5th Avenue, the county had to purchase a home that was located off of Fairgrounds Road.
At the last regular county board meeting, the commissioners approved the purchase agreement for the house, which has an assessed market value of $131,500. The purchase price was $168,000.
The money for the house, according to Dave Robley, public works director, came from the contingency fund for the project.
“The money was left over from public works,” he said.
Robley said that the plan is to close on the property in September and then put it back up for sale. The buyer will have to move the house from its current location so that the road can be extended.
The road will likely not be constructed this year.
What is public works?
The department includes six main divisions – administration, agricultural/ drainage inspection, parks, county surveyor, highway maintenance and highway engineering.
Public works is responsible for maintaining 546 miles of county roads and 200-plus miles of drainage ditches.
Road maintenance activities include blading and regraveling, snow plowing, sanding, ice removal, vegetation control, crack sealing, pothole patching, culvert repair and replacement, roadside drainage, dust control, signing, pavement and message painting, traffic control, equipment maintenance and repair.
The engineering division is involved with highway surveys, design, construction inspection, right-of-way acquisition, environmental assessments, wetland mitigation, long-range planning, cost estimates, public information meetings, bridge inspection and replacement, permit applications to regulatory agencies, specification writing and contract administration.
The surveying division is responsible for preserving and maintaining the location of 2,800 public land survey corners, which provide the basis of all land ownership in the county.
The ag inspection division enforces state regulations concerning noxious weeds, herbicides, pesticides and seeds. It also assists townships and cities with noxious weed control and education.
The parks division is responsible for planning and maintaining parks and trails at the county level.
As was the case at the old location, the new site includes a central fueling facility for all government agencies operating in the area.