March 31, 2023

Stockpile rock already secured for county gravel roads

Engineer prepares for worsening conditions given multiple freeze-thaw cycles this season

Jasper County Engineer Michael Frietsch speaks to the board of supervisors on Feb. 28 about rock bids that will be stockpiled in three areas of the county that cover the northwest and southwest quadrants. The rock will be used on gravel roads that are in poor conditions after multiple freeze-thaw cycles.

Stockpile rock will be placed along some of the more deteriorated gravel roads in Jasper County after weather conditions comprised their stability.

The county board of supervisors on Feb. 28 voted 3-0 to approve the more than $255,000 bid from Bruening Rock Products, Inc., of Decorah, for 13,000 tons of rock, which will be put in three stockpile locations to cover the northwest and southwest quadrants of Jasper County. Two bids were provided to the county.

Jasper County Engineer Michael Frietsch said the stockpile rock is in response to the multiple freeze-thaw cycles that have occurred this season, as well as the abundant moisture the region received during the winter months. The secondary roads are in rough shape, he said, and they need addressed.

The stockpiles will be located near Prairie City, the northwest corner of the Clear Creek township and the Baxter shed. When the rock is stockpiled, the secondary roads department crews will haul the piles to address problem areas with the granular roads in the vicinity of each location.

An additional 13,000 tons will be pulled by crews from either the Ferguson or Sully mines to cover the east half of the county. It will be paid for at gate prices.

“The rock right now that we’re looking at there’s about 6,500 tons going to Prairie City southwest, essentially another 6,500 tons going to the northwest (3,300 in the northwest corner and 3,200 to the Baxter shed),” Frietsch said. “We were estimating the number to be around $250,000.”

Newton News followed with Frietsch after the supervisors meeting. The roads are in weak shape, he said. Not only have freeze-thaw cycles been difficult to deal with, Frietsch said the dry summer made it difficult for rock to get worked in. But it made it easier for moisture to find its way into roads by fall and winter.

“Right now the roads are weak enough to where if we get a motor grader on them we’re going to tear them up pretty bad,” he said. “We can’t really get in there and blade them that well because they’re basically mud right now. They’re not dry enough to affect any change at this point.”

Frietsch said crews will likely have the rock stockpiled in full by the third or fourth week of March. Roads will be touched up towards the end of March or April.

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.