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Engineer urges motorists to follow detours

Stinn:?Use of alternate route causing gravel roads to become damaged, dangerous in some areas

— Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Anne Blankenship Detour signs for the James Street project are posted on Beach Street.

Motorists taking shortcuts to avoid the posted detour for the James Street construction project maybe creating more work for the county roads department, according to County Engineer Nicole Stinn.

The James Street project effects travel from the west side of Webster City and the overpass on old Highway 20. Stinn told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning that many drivers are using Wall Street or 230th Street as alternate to the posted detour. The official detour takes motorists south on Beach Street to Airport Road to Highway 17 which returns drivers old Highway 20.

“We are having a hard time maintaining that (230th Street). It’s obviously very dry and so there’s a lot of dust which can create a real safety issue,” she said. “We want to encourage people to use the posted detour. I know it’s a little more out of the way, but 230th Street is really getting beat up and in some cases, dangerous.”

Stinn said the county secondary roads department will do its best to maintain the road, adding that now is not the optimal time to do blading on the gravel roads.

“The roads are hard, they have a good crust on them. If we blade that now, it just breaks that open and creates a lot of loose rock that can ‘washboard.’ Without moisture to pack it down, it makes the situation worse,” she said.

Board of Supervisors Chairman David Young said with the hot, dry weather conditions, the county’s gravel roads are really “getting beat up.”

“The city did set up designated detour routes that are on hard-surfaced roads. Obviously, we’re not going to arrest anyone, but please be thoughtful for others and use the marked route. It’s only two or three miles further in most cases,” he said.

City officials have previously said the construction project, which began in April, will likely take most of the summer to complete.

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