To illustrate concerns over the conditions of some roads in the western portion of the county, the Palo Alto County Supervisors got taken for a ride, so to speak, during a presentation by Jon Josephson, Principal of the Ruthven-Ayrshire Community School District.
Through a video shot by Josephson from a school bus, the Supervisors got a most realistic look at how time and traffic loads have taken their toll on 11 and a half miles of county roads B25, N26 and B14 between Ruthven and Graettinger.
"With the increased academic sharing going on between Graettinger-Terril and Ruthven-Ayrshire, we're making a lot of multiple daily trips, sometimes as many as five trips a day, depending on the activities,"?Josephson explained. "Our preferred route, hands down, is our county roads, north from Ruthven to B25 and then east to N26, then north to B14 and into Graettinger and vice-versa." Josephson noted there was an option of taking US. Highway 18 to Highway Four, but they have noticed problems in terms of safety by using that route.
"The first is at 4 and 18. I?drove a bus to the intersection at Highway 18, and I sat there almost five minutes, waiting for traffic to clear and had about seven cars piled up behind me,"?Josephson noted. "The second concern is the railroad track, and if you haven't noticed, you're almost three and a half miles uphill going to Ruthven, and buses are notoriously underpowered, so it takes until you get to Ruthven to get up to highway speed, with traffic piled up behind you, and Clay County Fair week would be a major concern there."
But in noting the county roads were the preferred route, Josephson was to the point.
"The fact of the matter is that these roads are deteriorating very, very quickly, and that is our real concern," Josephson said. "We know you are aware of that, but we just weren't sure how aware you were of it."
To bring the issue up close to the supervisors, Josephson and his son placed a video camera on a school bus, and this past Sunday, drove over the county roads in question.
"I watched this video this morning, and to be truthful, I?got queasy from it," Josephson admitted. "This is just a sampling of what it looks like and rides like in a school bus."
As the video played, Josephson identified landmarks, and took note of the road surface and the vibration that caused the camera's auto-focus to shift often.
As the video showed the intersection of B25 and B14, Supervisor Linus Solberg asked about the continuation of B25, or 340 street, a gravel road running east. "How about taking that to Highway Four?"
"That's not a bad idea, some of our drivers have found it and use it, but our concern is that it is not properly signed," Josephson answered.
"Both of our districts fully realize the financial constraints you guys are under for fixing roads, we're not here on some pipe dream thinking that tomorrow you'll fix this road, but we just want to make you totally aware of the situation and the difficulties it causes us,"?Josephson said. 'We know the funding needs to come from somewhere, because it just doesn't fall from the sky."